shovel: 25 minutes
about 2 inces
At some point during the speculation over this storm, they predicted 3-5 inches. We might have gotten 3 total, over 2 days of on and off snow. The snow was soft and not too difficult to shovel, except for the bits caked on that my shitty Target shovel couldn’t seem to scrape.
walk: 1 mile
neighborhood with Scott and Delia
A beautiful walk through a winter wonderland. We headed north on Edmund and I was able to admire the white Welcoming Oaks from across the road. Later, on 34th, I made sure to check and see if the house that recently acquired new owners still had the little anemometer (measures wind speed) perched on the fence near the garage. Yes! Noticed how all the snow on the streets had melted. Excellent.
the tree outside my window
During my month with Linda Pastan, I read a lot about the tree outside her window. The tree outside my window belongs to my neighbor. Earlier this week, the heavy, wet snow caused a a big section of it (which is a big tree) to fall. Here’s what I wrote about it on Monday:
Woke up this morning, walked downstairs, opened the blinds. Hello huge tree branch sprawled across the side yard! Sometime during the night as it snowed a branch from my neighbor’s tree fell. It starts in their yard and ends by the edge of my house. Luckily, no damage. I wonder how long it will be before it’s removed?RUN! log entry from 6 march 2023
How long will it be? It’s still there. Yesterday Scott and I talked about whether or not we should do anything about it. We decided we’ll wait until it’s warmer. It’s not blocking anything, or causing any damage, and it is their responsibility. I wouldn’t mind clearing off some of the branches, but the biggest part of the fallen tree looks heavy and will be difficult to remove. Of course, this fallen tree isn’t a big deal, but it’s difficult to ignore when it’s right outside my window, always there, reminding me that something will need to done about it at some point, and that I’m incapable of talking with my neighbors about it.
a mini-project on Schuyler
Yesterday I decided to print out James Schuyler’s lllooonnnnggg poem, Hymn to Life. 10 pages 1.1 spaced in 13 pt Helvetica-Neue. It just fits on my desk, under the glass. My plan is to spend some time with a different page each day (or each time I read it and write about it) and pick out bits that stand out for me.
James Schuyler, Hymn to Life, Page 2
Today I worked on page 2, which begins with As the seasons turning, and ends with bigger gravestones than the lesser fry. Why did I begin with page 2 and not page 1? Maybe it was because I’ve read the first page many times, but rarely beyond it — I was too daunted by the number of lines left to read. And because I discussed the first page a little yesterday.
tree, that dominates this yard, thick-waisted, tall/ And crook branched. Its bark scales off like that which we forget:/ Pain, an introduction at a party, what precisely/ happened umpteen Years or days or hours ago. This line reminds me of a bit of Schuyler’s diary that I read yesterday:
March 5 — in this case from 1971:
“As beautiful a morning as ever was, as though the two days wind had blown something away and left — not spring, by any means: a kind of russet flash in this swept clean clarity. The plane tree looks as though it’s shedding its flakes and scabs of bark in the interest of a new nakedness, its upper trunk like a sinewy throat.
Putting these two fragments together complicates and deepens my understanding of that which we forget. When I initially read the poem, I was thinking more about the regret of forgetting someone’s name, or what happened in the past. Also — just last week, RJP had a check-up at the dentist. After she was safely done, I told her about how painful one of my cleanings had been and how I wished I could have recorded that pain I felt because I hadn’t flossed enough and play it back for myself every time I didn’t want to floss! Now reading the lines in Schuyler’s diary about shedding bark and becoming something new, I’m thinking about why I sometimes want to forget, to let go of old memories and experiences, to become something new. So, some things we want to forget — like me and the problem of the tree — and some things we want to remember — like the voices and gestures of someone we love, the pain of a bad cleaning. Both are true, and the tree bark can be about forgetting as welcomed or feared.
And that same blue jay returns, or perhaps/ It is another. All jays are one to me. This makes me think of bird as form, which is how I often understand birds because of my inability to see their fine details. Although, as I learn more of their songs, I can distinguish between some types. Just this past fall I finally realized that what I thought was an irritating crow call is actually the screech of a blue jay, and that the tin-whistle song that I always here is a blue jay too. I’m also thinking about the rare occasion when I wonder about the life span of the creatures I encounter — squirrels, birds, butterflies, bees. I looked up blue jay: 7 years, on average, but as old as 27. I’ve lived in my current house for 8 years, so I might be encountering the same bird each year.
But not the sun which seems at/ Each rising new, as though in the night it enacted death and rebirth I don’t imagine the sun in this way. Is this because I hardly ever sit and watch it set? I should. What would it feel like to imagine that the sun is performing death every night, being reborn every morning? How could that shift my perspective on everything?
a future which is just more Daily life. I love daily life — the mundane, sometimes made magical, but often small and quiet and repeated. I find comfort in the patterns, find meaning in the accumulation of day after day.
It/Is spring. It is also still really winter. Not a day when you say,/“What a beautiful spring day.” A day like twilight or evening when/You think, “I meant to watch the sun set.”
I meant to watch the sun set. This line comes after the flowers blooming, daily life, and a bit about his cat is always getting into fights. A fun surprise to realize, just now as I read this again, that Schuyler was setting me up for regret about not seeing a sun set! And now, noticing how I wrote sunset and he wrote sun set, I’m thinking about the difference between the two, one as a noun, the other a verb, and how believing in the sun setting as opposed to the sunset is much more fun, and open, and makes imagining that the sun could be doing something like performing death every night much more possible. Verbs are the best!