April is the cruelest month, breeding daffodils and gin and tonics.

If we survive, I will forever associate this period of our lives with the sacrificial slicing of the lime, the pouring of the holy inebriant lightly tinctured with the presidential miracle, tonic of quinine. (Quinine, a treatment for malaria, is also found in tonic water.)

Fleeing New York like rats, my husband and I decamped north to socially isolate in a drafty house in the middle of what the locals call mud season, a time of grassless muck by day and treacherous plains of brown ice as the temperatures dip at night.

In the first weeks, we were giddy, if disoriented. It felt like setting sail on an exciting voyage, an odyssey, with our stores of grain and amphorae of olive oil and wine. And what voyage isn't inaugurated with a pour for the gods?

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