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.