Thursday, May 14, 2015


When I retired, I switched off my internal alarm clock: the need to be up before dawn, worrying about the day's classes disappeared. Heaven? Well, yes, but it is a heaven of a psychological kind. In reality, I wake up early, now as before. Decades of morning work anxiety aren't erased with the simple signing of a resignation letter. Still, these days, I luxuriate in a wakeful but dozy morning in bed. I'm rarely up before 7:30 and our breakfast most often is at 9 or even later.

But not today.

Ed has a machining trip planned for the day and he tells me in the predawn hours that he must be out within the hour. Our breakfast, therefore, is very very early.


I mention this because after, I find myself unexpectedly with a long and free morning. This seems rather incredible. Sure, I could plunge into the usual weeding, cleaning, cooking, accounting, washing, trimming etc., but I hesitate. What would it be like if I took my book out  -- the one I usually read just before switching off the light -- and read now? Or if I spent idle moments gazing at the garden, with those love struck eyes I have every time I look out at the thriving perennial fields?

It's too cold to sit outside and so I putz around a little, listening to music. I feel the pull of duty: I clean the chicken coop and do a load of laundry. I pluck weeds around this come-back kid, a striped blue violet:


And then I take my Kindle out, read through to the end of one book and into a new one.

And it strikes me that I should, at least once a week give myself the gift of a morning without chores or obligations. Without emails, without the clutter that tends to fill the small spaces of time most of us have every now and then. Yes, come warmer weather, I should give myself a porch morning with nothing but a pad for note taking (because what if an idea starts to form?) and my Kindle for reading, in the company of birdsong and the occasional cluck of one of the hens, who are never too far away...


In the afternoon, I am with Snowdrop.

The girl is blazing ahead toward greater independence. Ah, but to sit! To finally fit something, perfectly aligned, into a desired space (the mouth comes to mind)! To move! To explain to grandma what need drives a cry!

But things cannot be rushed and so we practice all that is feasible right now -- the sit, the flip, the stuffing of a few fingers into the mouth. Well, actually everything Snowdrop does today seems to end with a few fingers in the mouth.




But this should not distract us from the obvious truth: she is, as always, an energetic, driven, happy child!



In the evening, Ed and I go to our local farmers market. It's nearly closing time, but there is still a lot of asparagus on vendors' tables. We buy bunches and bunches of it. I'm still not quite ready to believe that the growing season is fully upon us. A month ago, nothing poked through the ground and today, we have a million spears of asparagus. Amazing.


  1. Love the color of those violets! Gorgeous!

    I'm thinking Snowdrop likes her hoodie much more than she likes her hats. She looks much happier. ;)

    1. Agreed... she seems somehow different in the hoodie, happy in an older kid way almost. Love the sly grin in the second hoodie photo!

    2. Her mom thinks Snowdrop is a true Wisconsinite: comfortable with the cold, not so much with the hot. Hoodie's on when it's cool. Sun hat -- when it's warm and sunny. Maybe we're seeing that.

  2. Nina! Such a revelation! about damn time :)

    So what are you reading? What are your readers reading?
    The last book I recommended was All the Old Knives by Olen Steinhauer. It was a one-day read, very sharp and tight. It's about old spies with a history, meeting one last time.

    I see Kate Atkinson has a new book out. Her last one, Life After Life, had a unique premise, multiple possible timelines. Or maybe not unique - I seem to remember something of the sort from all of the Latin American literature that was a revelation to me in my thirties.

    1. I'm going to stick with "Wild" as one of my favorite books (could not put it down!) in a long long time. Right now I'm reading Katie Hafner's Mother Daughter Me ( a memoir). Hafner is a friend of a friend, but, too, I am intensely curious how she takes on this favorite subject!

  3. I love that you gave yourself this gift of a free morning. Yes. Repeat. It's so good for the creative spirit in us. I have not be able to settle into a good long book lately but I am reading poetry after breakfast before I dive into the day. It refreshes me before I get lost in the day's work.

    1. Honestly, I think you too would find "Wild" riveting... But poems -- how very lovely! Not unlike your blog!

  4. PS. That last photo of snowdrop is my new favorite.

  5. She is adorable! So veryveryvery ADORABLE!


I welcome comments, but I will not publish submissions that insult or demean, or that are posted anonymously. I am sorry to lose commenting Ocean friends who are not registered, but I want to encourage readers to submit remarks only if they feel they can stand behind their words. I do not seek a free-for-all here. I like camaraderie far more than conflict.