Okay, you guys, the special election in Georgia’s 6th District has its primary tomorrow, April 18th. We can take this seat — Tom Price’s old seat — if we get out the vote. Send a message to this administration that their policies are unacceptable! This is this first of many seats we can flip if we work together. If you live in Georgia’s 6th, get out and vote for Jon Ossoff! If you live elsewhere in Georgia make sure your friends in the 6th are getting out and voting. If you live somewhere else, share this anyway because someone you know will know someone who knows someone in Georgia’s 6th and everyone’s vote matters!
Finally, spring is here in NYC. We had two warm spells last month which fooled the trees and flowers, followed in one case by a temperature deep-dip and in the other by pounding cold rains. So the crocuses were barely seen this year and the earliest daffodils got flattened. The later daffodils have come out now to represent, though, and the tulips are up, though not blooming yet. One of the azaleas in the park can’t hold back anymore, either.
Down by the river it’s been foggy the last two days, yesterday a thick blanketing fog but this morning a fog thick low down and above but with a thinned-out strip in the middle. This leads to that odd sight where the bottoms, not the tops, of buildings are lost.
The Brant geese are still here, but they’re collecting in larger and larger groups so I think they’ll be heading back to the Arctic soon. The buffleheads seem to be already gone. Mallards, Canada geese (named, by the way, for a guy named Canada, not for the country) and Gadwalls are all here, eating like crazy and looking for places to nest. I saw an egret high overhead and this morning six blue herons heading north together. Robins, bluejays, cardinals, various sparrows, and mourning doves are haunting the yards behind me. Just now a clutch of sparrows, a species that gets their business done early, fledged, exploding out of the nest. One landed on my windowsill and as fledglings will, looked stunned at his own audacity and waited for instructions. Unlike this fledgling,
who was sitting about ten feet from the path at the Botanical Garden two weeks ago, also waiting for instructions from his circling parents, the sparrow on my windowsill actually has predators: Bella the Cat was pawing at the glass with excitement. Good thing for the sparrow population that glass doesn’t vaporize at a cat’s desire to spring.
ANATOMY OF INNOCENCE came out this week. The brainchild of Laura Caldwell and Leslie Klinger, the book pairs crime writers with exonerees — wrongfully convicted, that is, innocent, women and men who spent years, decades, in prison for crimes they hadn’t committed. Each writer was asked to work with an exoneree to tell a portion of the story, from initial involvement in the case through trial, prison, release, and beyond. I was given the double privilege of working with Gloria Killian, and telling the part of the exoneree story that opens the book. (“Hey, Gloria, they want us to do Chapter One!” “Oh, good, no pressure.”) If you’re thinking criminal justice reform is an abstract issue, this book gives you the opportunity to look at things differently.
Went out twice today, to keep appointments. After the first time, came home and wrote; after the second, toddled back to take a nap. But the sun’s out for the first time since Sunday and I feel better, though my cough sounds worse. Skipping basketball tonight but tomorrow I think I’ll launch myself back into action. Writing in the morning, a light gym workout (and some time in the steam room, for therapeutic purposes, of course), then a class I’m teaching, then one I’m taking.
Meanwhile, finished my taxes! Wrote, read, sorted through books to keep or gently move on, and as I started this post I realized this may be the first time since I began blogging that I’ve done four posts in four days. Will try to keep the surprising lessons of this staycation in mind, because think how even much more satisfying it will be if I can do it feeling well!
Since you were all so generous on the subject of my photos (thank you!) I’m going to close today with one of my personal favorites, of the west wall of the NYPL, Bryant Park, reflecting a September sunset.
My chest cold’s beginning to migrate to my nose, which is a good sign although it involves rather more sneezing than I’d prefer. I’d intended to end this withdrawal from the outside world this evening, with my 6:30 class, but three of my five students aren’t well either, so we postponed to next week. Tomorrow I have an appointment at 9:00 and one at 1:00, but I doubt if I’ll make it to 6:30 basketball, seeing as how I went out today to the store a few blocks away and came back coughing. Sigh.
And what did I do today? I wrote my way out of one scene and into another. I almost finished my taxes, cleaned out another couple of inches of files, did a whole bunch of handwash (I wash most of my black clothes by hand, so they’ll stay black, and anyone who’s seen me can guess how many shirts, pants, and leggings were hanging around). I did nap, yes indeed. And did some reading.
I’m getting a touch of cabin fever, and there’s no NCAA basketball tonight. I’m ready to step outside (and it’ll be sunny tomorrow!) although I’m also prepared to come back home and collapse after a few hours. Being finally back in action will be great, but this staycation thing hasn’t been all bad by any means. I have to make sure to remember this. A day, or two days, of this, every now and then — this is good stuff! It even gives you time to sort through some photos.
Yesterday, after basketball — which, contrary to my theory, did not sweat out this cold — I took a hot bath, did some reading, worked on the effing taxes, and cleared out some files. Here’s the thing on the files: for those of your who don’t know how publishing works, a publisher sends a royalty statement a couple of times a year. For each book. Including foreign editions. When I was a baby published writer I kept them all. A few years ago I started chucking them, after I glanced over them, because I realized they were useless, really. But I never cleaned out the files. I have fifteen published books and I’ve been published since 1994, in fourteen languages. I ditched eight inches of paper! Since the size of my tiny domicile can just about be measured in inches, this is major. Then I watched the Baylor/Mississippi State Women’s Elite Eight game and went to bed. This morning over my tea I looked through a gorgeous book on the work of Serizawa Keisuke (see below) which I’ve been telling myself for ages I was going to spend some time with. I may have to try this staycation thing for a few days every couple of months when I’m NOT sick.
I have a cold. My colds go chest to throat to nose, and this one is still in the chest stage. Coughing, wheezing. Went to a dance concert last night, played basketball this morning — I’m of the firm opinion that sweating it out is the best thing, though I didn’t have a lot of oomph and played rather badly — and came home exhausted. But the good part is this: checking my book last night to see whether I could cancel anything I had coming up for the next day or so I saw that I have nothing! From now until Tuesday night, when I teach, my schedule is blank. This never happens, and it especially never happens when I’m sick.
So I finished playing basketball, did a little shopping on the way home, took a hot bath, and will be burrowed in here for the next three days. Today I’m not even going to write. I’m going to clean out some files, finish my taxes (I warn you, say nothing), nap, and make chicken soup. And catch up on some reading, and watch the women’s NCAA Final Four while I eat the chicken soup. I’ll write tomorrow and Tuesday, but nothing more ambitious because more files and more napping. Tuesday evening I’ll emerge, all better (or, with a cold in the nose, which is more likely) but somewhat, I hope, de-stressed.
I’ll let you know how it goes.
My staycation partner:
Quiet gray river
Two ferries too far to hear
Raise frothy white wakes
Brant geese flock swims by
Stops to breakfast at seawall
Gull swoops down to watch
Joggers’ bright shirts glow
Red, blue, yellow, acid green
In foggy morning
Windy, heavy snow and sleet when I was out this morning, but blizzard? Nah. Still, almost no one down by the river but me. One other photographer, two joggers, and one dogwalker: the big tattooed guy with the four little dachsunds. This is their foot/paw prints in the snow.
And this is the dogwalker with the dogs and the jogger. These are all 8:00 a.m. photos, by the way.
Water taxi dock.
Pier 46 pilaster.
Blue light with snow hat.
Lots of action on the river this morning. A pair of Canada geese swam south; a pair of Brant geese swam south a few minutes later, then turned around and swam north. I wondered why until I saw, about twenty feet behind them, the Canada geese also swimming north — that is, escorting the Brants out of Canada goose territory. A cormorant flew low over the water and dropped into the area at the end of the piling field where a male bufflehead was already fishing. A male red-breasted merganser popped up from his underwater fishing grounds. I saw the female yesterday. He must have been finished with his breakfast because he swam a ways out, groomed his feathers, and stuck his head under his wing for a nap. A pair of mallards glided in for a landing on the pilings. Then the male Canada goose set up a major squawking fest, as another pair of Canada geese swooped overhead, but lifted again and didn’t land. Mid-February, Canada goose mating season. This land may be your land, but this stretch of the river is mine all mine!
Red-breasted merganser photo not mine; it’s from allaboutbirds.org. I thought this post needed a visual, and he’s so cute.