who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward, /

who do what has to be done, again and again.

Last week I joined the ever-burgeoning ranks of people who’ve been smitten by Animal Crossing: New Horizons, persuaded by a friend and former colleague of mine who has the exact right skillset to knowledgeably advise someone on what games they should be playing.

Since I first downloaded it, I’ve enjoyed several hours of hanging out with that friend, and various others, on our myriad islands. Hot topics on the voice chat have included whether pine cones are a scam, which animal neighbours are The Worst, and the absolute disappointment of thinking you’ve find a fossil and having it be, instead, an earth egg.

I’ve also been thinking, practically non-stop, about how to be useful in a crisis.

I am back in a newsroom, and through the quirk of my myriad careers happen to have the exact right skillset to manage a distributed team in a non-stop news environment during a complex moment in history throughout which technology platforms have played a substantial role.

And, partly through sheer luck and partly through a lifetime of deliberate decisions about who I want to be a person and therefore who the people are that I want to be around, I have an incredible network of friends and colleagues. These folks are very, very different from each other and yet very, very agreed that we are and have been in the midst of the great cause of all our lives. And that it is not one from which we have the liberty to shy away.


I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,
who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,
who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,
who do what has to be done, again and again.

I want to be with people who submerge
in the task, who go into the fields to harvest
and work in a row and pass the bags along,
who are not parlor generals and field deserters
but move in a common rhythm
when the food must come in or the fire be put out.

— from To be of use by Marge Piercy