Wednesday, April 15
Yesterday, it rained and rained. Sheets, sprays, steady drizzles. A warm rain, and when I ran on the wooded road that is really a long driveway, the forest was a conspiracy of greening pines and new ferns. A full-blown waterfall tumbled busily down the slopes. I thought of Bridge to Terabithia. Not because of the death; because of spring and the rushing water and the sense of independence forded in crossing it.
I’ve been chaining to-dos together furiously, despite myself. No sooner do I suggest going upstairs to admire the vintage hairdryer then I’ve remembered we first must switch the laundry and remove the most gnarled of blocks from the floor.
I’d say it’s life interrupted, but that gives false weight to the interrupter.
Perry sings constantly. Medleys and mashups. Humpty Dumpty into Wheels on the Bus cross-cut with Here Comes the Sun. Last night I started singing Abiyoyo and he instantly caught on.
Thursday, April 16
I think my mind is a nearly full hard-drive. Any thought takes about five times longer to form if it forms at all.
This morning, we woke up to inches of snow and more still falling. By afternoon, it had all melted away, though the day remained cold. A little luster had left the new grass and the hyacinth shriveled up but the animals shook it off and the squill were as poetic as ever.
I drove over to Hoosick Falls in the mellow April sun. The name sounds like a Jimmy Stewart movie, doesn’t it? That or a book by Richard Russo. It looks that way too, the town center a mix of brick storefronts and Eastlake Victorians and a few Georgian Revivals for panache. The lots are small and the side streets are narrow and bend at odd angles. The painter Grandma Moses spent much of her life near Hoosick Falls; she got her start when a collector spotted one of her paintings in the window display of the town’s drugstore. She was seventy eight, and had only just begun to paint. The town doesn’t look as Currier & Ives’y as it Moses made it out to be (even in the ‘40s, her portrayals were somewhat idealized), but it’s got something, especially in the slanting sun.
Friday, April 17
I read something chastising, if mildly, towards New Yorkers who’d left, and felt awash with guilt. It doesn’t feel right to be one of the leavers, but I can’t fathom staying — at least not without one of us quitting our job. Yes, we are lucky to have jobs to quit. We shouldn’t be, but I recognize that we are.
At some point I’ll write a post about the failures of carry on capitalism—how it’s born of greed and fear more than grit, but that time is not today.
I found another duck pond with Perry today. Positively glutted with ducks and Canada geese. Goose down all over the grass and stuck like flags on the reeds. Two mallards got in a huff and one chuffed off. Perry tried to follow it.
My walks with Perry consist of call and response as to what we are about to see. About being a relative term. When he is older, he will learn the true length of a second and feel wildly cheated.
Saturday, April 18
I keep a running list of inspirations. I haven’t updated it in a while, but today, I ran up North Pownal Road past a working farm, disheveled but still pretty, while listening to Debussy’s Suite Bergamasque, l.75. It was snowing but the sun burned faintly through the clouds. An older man in overalls and a flannel made his way to the mailbox. Two geese crash landed on the pond.
I wrote a ways back about waiting for the click.That was a click right there. Mostly on account of the Debussy. Talk about timeless.
One of the cows—hair the color of ripe plum, mother of Lulu, the little calf—is in heat. Her belows are primal, insistant. I think about the July nights in the children’s book The Year at Maple Hill Farm, when the crickets are rampant and the old folks gather on the porch and speak softly of long ago times and every now and then, the cow lows. The cow lows courses through me as the Debussy does.
My aunt tells me that the last time Luna was in heat, she mounted my cousin. I make Perry stay in the stroller now, when we cut through the pasture.
Monday, April 20
The nice thing about a diary is the self-containment of it all. A good solution for concrete mental states.
I took the boys up an unpaved fork off Skiparee on Sunday. It looked too long to be a driveway —too rugged, too—but the only signs were warnings not to hunt. The path forked straight up through the trees, flanked on one side by a fell and a desolatory stream. The woods are erupting in firs, even if the underbrush is scraggly.
The path was gravel and mud, mixed, then mostly mud. The signs changed: hunting was permissible with a license. Hunting season felt far off, though I couldn’t be sure. Eventually, I turned the stroller around, fairly bouncing down what I’d huffed up. A man in a motorcycle chortled by with a German shepherd in the sidecar.
Wednesday, April 22
There is such a thing as a tesseract is a phrase I say to myself more than maybe any other. I’d always thought of time bending forward, but this past month, it plunged backwards, and then mostly idled. In New York, we’d had almost no winter at all; by mid-March, we figured we were in its dregs. But the climate up here is about a month behind the city, and much snowier. It’s snowed at least once a week since we’ve been here, including this morning. Even on a cold day, it’s gone by noon, but still: 30 degrees and sugar snow doesn’t exactly scream spring the way a blooming magnolia does.
The thing is, the days are flying. Working and parenting in shifts has a compression effect; before I know it, it’s 6pm and time to start dinner, it’s 8pm and the babies are in bed, it’s 9pm and I’m trying to form a coherent summary of a certain media powerhouse’s untapped audiences. My thoughts unspool quickly; it’s rare that I weave them into anything usable. Most of the time, I just rewind them, clumsily. The days are flying but I’m doing egg-beaters in the water, expending great amounts of energy to go nowhere. And it’s still winter.
I sound like I’m complaining, but I’m not. We have it good. We have it great. I don’t even know as I mind this flavor of vacuum time. The world’s darker but in some ways, our own lives are lighter. Or maybe simpler, is a better way of putting it.
Yesterday, it was closing in on six when I headed out for a walk with the baby. I’d meant to run earlier but the weather had been wild all day; I’ll run in anything, but lightening and driving rain ontop of tree-felling winds felt extreme, even for me. Plus I had about fifty things on my to-do list and a goodbye email to write. By six I had forty-eight things to do and one third of a goodbye email written, and I was twitchy as a bronco in the bucking chute. Where is my mind, I thought. I went swimming in the caribbean. But the sky had gone its heartrending true blue and the fields were glittering in the sun. It’s unfailingly beautiful here by 6pm, have I mentioned that?
I walked down our dirt road and up another, past the farm that used to grow lettuce so peppery and sprightly that people in my neighborhood were willing to pay $7 for a sack of it. The farmhouse is empty now; the couple who owned it separated, leaving behind a pink tricycle, a stack of tractor tires, and (rumor has it) a cow, who lives in one of the back barns.
A sad story, though who’s to say there won’t be happier chapters? Someone’s turned over the fields the goats cleared last summer, anyways.
By the time I’d cleared the hill that overlooks the farm, just before the stretch where the oaks form a real-deal allee by June, I’d gotten my goodbye email written.
I had to write a goodbye email, because on Monday, I’m going back to the company where I spent the latter years of my twenties and the beginning of my thirties. The first place I had real work friends, many of whom became real real friends. The place where I went to happy hour after happy hour and started to see the internet the way (I’d imagine) a mechanic sees a car and learned some principles of data visualization and bought a filmy black Alexander Wang leotard from the Vogue sample sale for $3. The leotard is see-through; I still haven’t figured out how to wear it.
It’s a strange time to change jobs. I say “going back,” but in the physical sense I’m staying put. Still egg-beating, though hopefully not for long.
Thursday, April 23
A jabberwocky day. Holy cow, the sky. The forsythia’s raring too. The bullfrog’s returned to the duck pond. Did I say time is idling? Days like this one spring it forward. Irving’s starting to crawl forwards. He gets up on his hands and knees and slides one fat thigh into pigeon pose, pleased as punch. Then he spots the dog and goes into an ecstatic frenzy, sliding back onto his stomach and herky-jerkying in place. The dog watches him warily, waying the possibility of making off with one of the crumbs in his shirt (high) against the possibility of getting a grubby fist in her eye (also high). Perry doesn’t care about the dog, but he takes pity on his brother, squats behind him and tries to push him forward. “Move, baby,” he grunts, and the dog slinks away.
My stepmother says we ought to note somewhere that Perry is speaking in sentences, or close to. When her oldest went off to kindergarten, the teacher asked and she felt bad for not remembering. I’ve been neglecting the kids’ diaries, so consider it noted here. Two nights ago, Brady took Perry out to see the stars and this morning, he kept peering out the bathroom window, asking to see them again. The city will be a rude awakening, unless all that reduction in traffic and light pollution has loosed them up.