Focus and restriction

Focus and restriction can yield relief. After a few days on the BRAT diet, I am feeling better. Blood and stool lab work all came back negative. Phew. So a re-set. I can do that.

Focusing on the history of our young nation through the lens of John James Audubon also makes me feel better. I’m reading a second biography and taking notes. I’ve read two biographies about his wife, Lucy.

Okay, okay — so much for keeping secrets. But you probably would like to learn that at one point the Audubons owned close to a dozen slaves, yes? And that for some reason, historic mentions quantify nine as “a few.” Let me reality check. Would YOU refer to nine of anything as “a few”?

You cannot read about Audubon without getting fantastic descriptions of huge sycamore and chestnut trees, of paddling down the Ohio, of camping with the Osage, and of course birds. Birds, birds, and more birds.

Audubon loved them all which makes him even more appealing somehow — from the humble warblers and wrens to the spectacular eagles and rose-breasted grosbeak.*

Here’s what I’ve learned about JJA as a husband. He was hyper-focused on his drawings and investigations of nature, which meant he roamed the woods for weeks and even months at a time. He was an abject failure at business and also given to confabulation (DID he study with Jacques-Louis David, for instance?). In short, he was unreliable.

He presents the weird mix of fate and innate capacities that produces works of genius. But you also get poverty and extended periods of isolation for Lucy. For substantial stretches of their marriage, Lucy supported them by teaching.

It’s chilly this morning but supposed to reach 100 this weekend. Huh?

Had dinner with friends last night. Seven of us. We didn’t hug even though it’s been a while but if someone was sick, we’ve all been exposed, hugs or no.

K is on a conference call with China. They tend to be endless, which is part of why I’m outside. He goes into the office three days a week now, I think I’ve said. It seems a little pointless — the commute and diminished sleep the cost of collegiality?

All the annuals are in pots now.

* Under a Wild Sky, John James Audubon and the Making of The Birds of America, by William Souder, pages 90 – 93.

All 3 collages from Paris Collage Collective’s weekly prompt

9 thoughts on “Focus and restriction

  1. Hazel

    The heroes are dwindling. Struck by your golden collage (4th photo). Glad you’re feeling better. You’ve reminded me of a young adult book that a professor I worked for in college wrote, “Okay For Now”. A boy with a troubled life and there was a quest that had something to do with Audubon… going to see if the library has an audio of it…

  2. RainSluice

    Yes, so glad you are feeling better and got the full ok report from docs.
    Love your images, always. I so look forward to your bloggings.
    I have been happy this past week gardening. My back has not bothered me at all and I can hardly get over that fact. We are presently waiting for a tornado watch to subside. I hope who ever is in the path of these storms doesn’t get hurt. Last we checked it’s heading for NYC. The dog stayed right at my side as I gathered up stuff around the house and unplugged the computers, went up and down stairs several times. Now she’s sleeping next to me. The cat is sleeping in the attic, not at all worried. I am really really happy to have pets.
    At my house we are recovering from several weeks of filming and editing. First there were 4 weeks spent on 28 short educational videos with a very tight deadline. That was followed by 4 even more intense weeks of filming and editing on fund raising project with an insanely tight deadline. Soooo many emails and phone calls and so much equipment lugged around!! All totally wonderful people helping kids and families who are in great need of basics. Today my dear life-and-work partner is a dishrag. I’ve only had to make sure he was fed, hydrated and taking stretch breaks the past 2 weeks. I went clothes shopping yesterday mainly to get out of the house.
    I listened to NPR all the way to the outlets and back, and I found myself with tears rolling down my cheeks through all the reporting – some new news, some old news, some interviews with very lucid minds. Clearly I have not taken the time to reflect on the depth of the violence going on. Twitter-rattles apparently don’t really help me to feel it. Do I have a flat algorithm going on? I wonder what Tik Tok does to people? We certainly now know what violent video games do to some people.
    Violence reported as though this is just how we now live now and so sad but oh well?
    I am ok, so far, I think. (“ok for now”). OK that I do really need to *keep* telling myself that these bouts of violence are not ok, and not to be normalized. The violence going on is reckless, relentless uninhibited violence. It is very clear and very disturbing what the issues are, and who the criminals are and yet. And yet. ok. bye for now. I don’t know if my blather has anything to do with what you are talking about. Birds are terrifically comforting. History is terrifically disturbing.
    And, oh that onion on duck feet is spectacular!! xoxo

    1. deemallon Post author

      Wow what a couple of intense weeks you both have managed to get through! Thanks for sharing.

      Hope the tornado missed you.

      News? What is there to say. Nothing right now, apparently, but it all just gets weirder and more vile and more disgustingly racist.

  3. Nancy

    Was here. Thought I said…something. Guess not. These collages are beautiful indeed Dee. I had heard a slave&Audubon story on NPR a little while back. I hate seeing the bad in the beautiful…it colors it for me moving forward and I find myself over and over with the Why? questions. Today it was the research of Cracker Barrel (folks I know were talking about it) that disheartened…the old wrongs, the new rights (inspired by a court ordered settlement and a marketing plan, not coming to the goodness of one’s heart…but I guess it is better than nothing)…how much the ‘little man’ earns compared to the big mucka mucka. sigh. Democracy, disease, war, unrest, violence, natural disasters…’okay for now’ and my “good enough” will have to do. I am grateful to still be healthy and have an income and NOT have Monkey Pox for cryin’ out loud! lol Be well my friend.

    1. deemallon Post author

      The gratitude statement are everything! I briefly made this post password-protected but I didn’t see your comment until now. Sorry if it was me jerking around with edits.


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