Caring for Sponge Bob Square Pants

Neighbors have abandoned the hood for parts beyond as winter lingers in Wisconsin. The month of March does not feel much like Spring here. So I take in the neighbors’ little betta fish for the week. I’m guessing the six-year-old named it. Sponge Bob doesn’t require much care; just a pinch of food sprinkled on the surface for her to find. Her owner claims the fish comes close to look at people, but that’s not been consistent behavior at our house.

As I search the bowl for Sponge Bob, my thoughts turn to the travelers. Most have taken to the road, believing it to be the smarter way to travel this year. But airports, too, are crowded, as even the most careful are willing to risk a little covid to just get away.

I watch the empty houses for packages and stray political flyers that litter the lawns. It’s my way of caring, as if by looking out for these details I’m also blessing the travelers, watching out for road conditions.

But my caring can’t protect them from the news. No matter where they go, they can’t avoid hearing of mass shootings, virus variants, tornadoes and war. A couple of new obituaries await them: a former employer, recently in assisted living; another young person who “died unexpectedly at home.”

There will be time to talk about travels and news. But that can wait. Meanwhile Sponge Bob travels around in his own small world, making little fin movements, no wake, just enough to keep him afloat. He seems to know how to handle things. I’ll return him with a smile and let the happy family reunite and settle back in to swim in their own little world a little longer, until Monday takes them back to work and school.