We are drawn to the views, but it’s the little things that make them up. As winter wears on, the walks get less varied, and more often than not I’m walking down the road. No expansive views, unless I want to count looking down the train tracks. This is especially true on days when my son is at home with a cold. I gather myself up for a quick walk down the road and even so, it’s pretty good as far as roads go. There are beautiful things to see, and a peacefulness that I find. The snow still covers the meadow I walk through–there are deep and distinct deer and coyote tracks alongside lighter, smaller squirrel and bird tracks. In the pond there are breaks that look like neurons–holes that are fractured outwards. A bird’s nest sits propped in the hand of a branch bending low over the pond, and I am amazed at what a perfect home it looks to be.
Today, the gray is thorough, but the sun is trying hard to dodge the clouds. A soft light glows out despite the gray cover and catches in the dried leavings of last summer’s bounty, like the Queen Anne’s lace pictured above. The rose of Sharon seed pods are probably the best part of this ubiquitous neighborhood shrub–they turn a splotchy golden hue, and seem to catch the littlest bit of light. Delicate juncoes flit and flutter through the dense thicket. Hundreds of crows land in a few big oaks, filling the space completely, and then leave just as quickly, taking their raucous cawing with them. I am fascinated by the life that abounds in these small bits of land that are left over, stitched together scraps, interstices between the houses, forgotten tracts that make up the views.
Right now I’m reading Akiko Busch’s The Incidental Steward: Reflections on Citizen Science. It’s the third book of hers that I’ve read this year and so far my favorite. It focuses on the Hudson Valley, and each chapter is about a topic of interest, so it feels very familiar. It’s evocatively written with a philosophical bent. I love the chapter on purple loosestrife.
I am fascinated by this video on the History of the Earth. I think I watched it ten times the first time I saw it. It was pleasantly mind blowing, in that it really illustrates how humans are just a blip on the timeline. I liked forwarding to the spots where a distinct change happened, how quickly a million years seemed.
If you have an 11-year old, you probably spend a lot of time looking for good movies you can watch together. Two recent favorites were Nausicaä and Castle in the Sky, both Studio Ghibli movies that explore environmental issues. (Extra points for parents: the robots in Castle in the Sky were the inspiration for Minecraft’s iron golem.)