Where are we and why are we in this handcart? Never mind that the Solstice is still a week away. It’s full-on summer in the Ohio River Valley, which is to say, swampy and nap-inducing. It feels like an injustice that we should have all of the humidity and none of the joie de vivre … Continue reading Hello Summer
Much like my commitment to this blog, my practice of writing a daily poem begins with good intent at the start of each year, only to founder in a few months on the rocks of “good gods and goddesses, these are awful.” When I was younger I used to send poems to an English teacher … Continue reading Junk Drawer
How quickly we move from the season of the furnace to the season of the air conditioner. What a narrow range of temperature we civilized ones demand, unwilling as we are to adapt our work and activities to the seasons or stay within regions naturally hospitable to us. I’m reading about re-entry anxiety (Google it! … Continue reading Home
“The most we can do is to write — intelligently, creatively, evocatively — about what it is like living in the world at this time.” Oliver Sacks, as quoted by Bill Hayes I’m starting to get out some, see friends. I went to a garden party and drank mimosas, saw people I knew, talked to … Continue reading Re-Entry
I live in a haunted land, where the dead don’t stay buried. Where swamps were drained and forests cleared, scattering the remnant living west into the tall grass, as if woodland and prairie were interchangeable. As if the living wouldn’t be driven from that new land, too. What remains here are ghosts of another way … Continue reading Memorial Day
The man in the interview was trying his best to make supply-side management sound like something you would choose to do with your one precious life, while the show host wondered if students today were prepared for such complex work upon completing their four-year college degrees after six years of secondary school and six more … Continue reading Supply Side Managers
A little over year ago I wrote about the pressure we were facing in the early days of the pandemic (though we didn’t yet know those were the early days) to get back to normal, That pressure continues, especially in the food service industry, where workers are expected to slip back into the harness as … Continue reading All Harness, No Horse
Remember when we learned that George W. Bush liked to paint? That was a moment. I loathed his silver-spoon presidency, his frat-boy insouciance, his wars of cruelty and cultural annihilation from which the world has yet to recover. But I felt a little softer toward him as a human person when I saw those canvases. … Continue reading A Cause for Hope?
Sometimes I hear my neighbor talking to her dog in the yard, and I wait until she goes inside before I take my trash to the bin. I am equal parts misanthrope and recluse, wishing for that elusive neighborhood in which there are no neighbors. When I lived in the city I wore sunglasses in … Continue reading Unmasking
Earlier this year, when my cafe job went away, I got a little worried about money. Not a panicky kind of worry, with thoughts of utility cutoffs and peanut butter for dinner every night. More like a rumbling, thunder-in-the-distance kind of worry. Most of my work is self-generated and my income tends to rise and … Continue reading Gap Month
I came to your garden one moonlit night a spade in my hand, and a rake and a hoe, we planted potatoes until the sun rose, pink sky, bleached horizon, you made me promise to return in the autumn with a fork and a bowl, you said there would be butter enough for the two … Continue reading Spring Planting
My friend Linda is a book collector. Until recently she managed the largest used book warehouse in our area. That warehouse closed last year. The massive inventory was bought by an online bookseller. Linda took a few boxes in lieu of severance pay, and our community is now without a used bookshop. Which is to … Continue reading Used Books
Things have occurred: wildfires and uprisings and super-spreader events, a few holidays, an election in the U.S. and a bit of sore-loser wilding on a steps of the capitol in response to that election. A month and change into the new year and the COVID-19 pandemic has not gone away, though there are vaccines now, … Continue reading It’s Been a Minute
The world’s on fire. I’m back to work. I’m going away for now to attend to my life and educate myself and learn how to be better and do better. I may be back, though I don’t know when. We’ll get together then.
Yesterday we had two training sessions for our baristas. Two months without contact, the first thing they did when they saw one another was race together for hugs. “No hugs!” I said. Unheeded Cassandra. We do not live in the same world. * * * * * Later I moved through an empty cafe, watering … Continue reading Corona Bubble
I bought lunch from the café down the street today. It’s something I’ve been doing over the past two weeks as I’ve returned to my own shop to begin the process of getting it ready for re-opening. I’ve eaten more carry-out meals in these past two weeks than I have in the past year. And … Continue reading Lunch
The café I manage remains closed because of COVID-19. I go in every day or two to do some cleaning, to organize cabinets and wipe down shelves and re-think original concepts that proved unworkable or overly-ambitious. I do all this with an eye to the calendar, knowing that time is passing even though it feels … Continue reading And Then What?
Is it any wonder, as the days roll one into another and we have to check our phones to find out it’s no longer Wednesday but Saturday, that a post intended for Friday doesn’t get published on time? What is time, after all? Just another construct, like the rules for badminton, and the divine right … Continue reading Patternless
Last week I put on the headphones and listened to an old episode of Meet the Composer, which is not something I ordinarily do, but this one featured Laurie Anderson, whose music has enchanted me since I first heard O Superman in the 80s and thought, wtf is this? (Did I say wtf in the … Continue reading What’s Interesting?
In “How to Stay Calm During the Pandemic,” Harvard Kennedy School professor Arthur Brooks parses the difference between risk and uncertainty, between disappointment and regret, and what happens to us when we confuse, in each case, the one for the other. I appreciate the analysis. I’ve seen — we all have — what happens to … Continue reading The Subversive Call of Ordinary Life
All day long I’ve been dreading the governor’s press conference, dreading the announcement that’s due any day regarding the lifting of the stay-at-home order that has shuttered my place of employment since mid-March. I’m dreading the announcement because it will force a reckoning I’d rather postpone for a little while longer: that the work I’ve … Continue reading “You Should Do Carry-Out”
I’ve been talking with the young chef who works with me at the fancy coffee bar from which we are both furloughed. We’re attempting to re-conceptualize our cafe menu in light of all the changes we’re facing, trying to guess at what may emerge at some point in the future when we’re able to serve … Continue reading Everyday is Like Sunday
So I’m thinking a lot about work these days. About what is essential and what is unnecessary, and how this pandemic has illuminated nothing so much as the absurdity of our economy, where the ones who do what most needs doing are the ones whose value is least acknowledged, least rewarded. Most anonymous. Most invisible. … Continue reading Essentials
There are rainbows on the windows and walls of the local businesses in my little town, painted and chalked and pasted up with construction paper, a show of solidarity in a community not known for such a thing. It feels sweet and a little tentative, the town speaking with a waver in its voice, trying … Continue reading The Long Now of Not Knowing