Saturday, December 03, 2016


The conversation goes like this:

Just wake me and I'll open the coop in the morning.
But you mumble an "okay" and then roll over and say -- "in a few minutes." And I say -- oh, I'll just go. And you answer -- "no, you need your beauty rest, I'll go in a few minutes." Rather than staying awake to nudge you again in a few minutes, it's easier to just go.

And in fact, this morning, the conversation played itself out exactly in this way.

Breakfast is a bit rushed because I cannot get my small tote bag to close. (It's carrying a bottle of good whisky from Islay.) But we eat our cereals and fruits, or rather -- gulp them down quickly.

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I am running low on time and we still have the coop to move. The forecast for Madison for the next two weeks is for snow and cold. Days and days of below freezing temperatures. The coop needs to be in the barn (for the winter) before the snow comes.

The reason for the rush is that I want to catch the 10 o'clock bus to Chicago. My younger girl and her husband live there now and they just moved into their new home which I desperately want to see. It's good to be riding the bus to Chicago rather than to Minneapolis (where they lived the last three years) -- it's half the distance and makes for a very pleasant getaway.

It's a gray but dry day (the snow comes tomorrow). Glancing out the window I see that dramatic Midwestern sky and I reach for my camera.

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A commenter noted how I always seem to reach for the camera without necessarily interrupting the flow of life. It's true that I am within reach of my camera at all times. It has always been this way -- probably since I got my first Kodak Brownie at age eight or nine. I think my brain has grown (or shed?) extra layers and this has helped me compensate for my camera attachment. That lens is my third eye. I recently read a quote in the New Yorker from Dorothea Lange who appears to have said "the camera is an instrument to teach people how to see without a camera." By now, I would walk a set of blocks looking through that third eye even if I were cameraless. I'm programmed to always consider life through it. And here's something I'm quite sure of: that little black box has taught me more about living in the moment than living in the moment would have. Strange how that works.

I am aware, however, that it takes some getting used to being around me and my black box. Not everyone gets acclimatized to that third eye so often staring them down and it's tricky sometimes to figure out when to shut that eye tight -- not for my own enjoyment, but because third eyes sometimes make others nervous exactly for the reason that third eyes often see things differently.

(On the El train to town, she holds on tight to the suitcase, he holds on tight to her...)

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In Chicago, my daughter greets me at the Blue Line El station. It's so good to see her here, in the town she first moved to after finishing her schooling. I associate it with her leap into an adult existence.

The neighborhood is the same as when she lived in Chicago before, but of course it's ever changing. We stop at a new coffee shop for a sweet treat...

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... stroll along a new walkway and bike path (the 606)...

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... visit a favorite grocery store and in general breathe in this corner of her life which, as a result, is now also a corner of my life.

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Their home is in an old building that once housed a convent. Their unit is stunningly put together. No matter where you look, there will be the details of their life -- warm, artful, full of caring.

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I help in small ways with some final unpacking and arranging but really I don't help much at all.

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In the evening, my girl brings out a home cured salmon and we open their bubbly -- a present they received when they moved here. We're feeling celebratory!

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Dinner is late so you wont get much of an account here. It's at the Table, Donkey and Stick. What a name!  It's sort of Swiss, but mostly it's warm and wonderful.

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Nighttime. From my window I see the contours of an old church across the street. They tell me there is a Polish service each Sunday. Threads have a way of weaving this way and that in my life. I fall asleep with a smile.