What an odd mixture of hope and despair, ordinary joys and extraordinary consequences the world is lately. I can’t stop thinking and reading about the war in Ukraine: it is disconcerting to sit on one’s hands while entire city streets are being blasted apart for no reason except a war of aggression.

Well, that’s not quite true, is it? I used my hands to donate to the International Red Cross; I am using my hands to type this; I used my hands to plant a slew of sunflower seeds (the Ukrainian national flower, and also a heat-loving summer staple here in the desert). But it isn’t quite the same, not the same by quite a margin, as using one’s hands to make molotov cocktails and protect a peaceful place. (An urge, I should say, which comes from the love of peaceful places, a hatred of regressive and prideful land wars, not from a general desire to make incendiary devices.)

So there is all of that, and then there was the also true feeling I had this morning, of absolute bliss that I was about to drink a cup of coffee. I get this sometimes, not on my sleepiest days but just ordinary ones, the sudden and gorgeous revelation that I get to have a cup of coffee, which I love so much, and which offers such a contented moment.

The only time I didn’t have much good coffee was when I was in Russia, where it was harder to come by and I was a broke student. They gave you a shot of espresso at the coffee shop/laundromat near my apartment, so sometimes I went there to do my laundry just for the free caffeine. My host mom wanted to do my laundry for me, but she did it in the bathtub, by hand, and I felt guilty letting her wash my socks and underwear, and then hang said socks and underwear on the drying line in the hall.

I am deeply sad for Ukraine, and deeply sad too for ordinary Russians who did not in any way want this, who are horrified. I am sad that the legendary radio station Эхо Москвы has been taken off the air in Russia for reporting honestly on Putin’s war. (You can still listen to it streaming online, though, if you’re interested and speak Russian. I listened to it for a couple of hours yesterday and was comforted by the rapid-fire news radio speech patterns and glad to hear a little bit about how things are being perceived, to hear the DJs talk about the poetry of resistance, songs of resistance, and play Bob Dylan.)

The coffee was delicious, and perfect, and hot. The day is warm, the flowers are planted or just on the edge of bloom. The good and the bad are here together, to stay, as always.