Category Archives: my neighborhood

Mystery Road

A dog walk is a great opportunity to attend to mystery. There is the mystery of nature, of course. Everywhere. The varieties of fungi, the open fresh faces of morning glories, the jewel-like dew hanging off a hosta stalk.

And then there are the other sorts of mystery. For instance, why an apartment building housing between 12 and 18 units never exhibits any signs of life. Never. I walk past it multiple times a week. Study the windows. Examine the balconies. It is sooo dead. There used to be a marmalade cat on the second floor who’d come out to the edge of the balcony and glare down at Finn. But she’s gone.

Then there’s the mystery of nostalgia. How, even after living in this part of Massachusetts for four times longer than I’ve lived anywhere else, the sight of the silver-toned wire clips on the electrical wires still has the power to remind me of childhood.

Driving from Pittsfield or Schenectady as a family, headed to our beloved rental in Rockport on the North Shore, we always knew we were close when we saw these clips. To our young, excited minds, they were seahorses! (there must be other clips more seahorse-like? Kinda spoils my point here).

Always the wonder of spiders, right?

The wonder of some people’s talent with plants.

But also the wonder of preoccupation. How reading a post about Grace’s encounter with a lizard yesterday informed how I saw a dead leaf today. Against all reason, for a flash, my brain told me that the brown form was a lizard. That counts as a mystery.

Always the wonder of money. How much of the world it drives. And, how do other people make such big piles of it? Here are two such simple examples from this morning’s walk.

This project, above, started with tearing down a respectable, well-constructed two family house. So much effort! So many supplies! I’m guessing the new town homes will go on the market for well north of 1.4 million. (That’s how ONE person makes a pile of money).

And then there’s this new grassy sward on Cypress Street formerly occupied by a house. It appears the neighbor and owner of the RV, bought the lot to create space. In other words, that new driveway cost over $600,000. Woosh!

Lastly, there is the wonder of conditioning. I still don’t consider myself a dog person (written about here), but Finn and I have learned a lot together. When I get to about the car, I drop the leash and say, “Go home!” He dashes to the door and turns expectantly for a treat.

I started this practice after he ran away from a dog walker one time. Finn made his way home over a span of about a half mile. I guess, he already knew how to go home, but I wanted to underscore the command.

Before this area turned into Rabbitville, I’d drop the leash back at the corner of the lot, but those little furry hoppers are too tempting. It’s too risky.

Tomorrow: white versus black slips for the Patron Chicken Saint of Delayed Success and a blue silk heart.

Let’s Count – dog walk edition

One – number of trucks driven under low hanging wire, number of telephone poles pulled down by wire, number of transformers that blew, number of blocks away I was, number of screams that came out of my mouth.

Also one – number of flamingo puppets lying out, number of chipmunks seen flying into a hole, number of trains that passed while walking on Braeland Ave.

Still one – number of statues of the Virgin spied in a garden. Number of times Finn barked at a dog and looked at me for a treat (denied!)

Three – number of times I gave Finn treats for reasons unrelated to other dogs or for no reason at all.

Also Three – number of times I gave Finn treats for seeing other dogs and not reacting.

Five – number of people I recognized from making the Langley/Cypress loop regularly. Also roughly the number of times loud noise interrupted my peace and annoyed me (not counting the transformer explosion).

Nine or so — number of neighbors that spilled out of their houses after the big electrical POP. I recognized more than half of them.

Eighteen – number of rabbits counted at the Fun Corner Yard, but I’ll bet there were more.

And then there was the view of the woods that made me pause and the burdock that offered up a rhythmic patterning that somehow thrilled me. Both resist the count.

Have a good start to your week! I’ve determined that being disoriented to season feels a lot like sadness. Or maybe it’s the other way around?

A Pfizer Saturday

Husband just shuttled down to Longwood medical area for his second shot. He had such a reaction to a recent shingles shot that he’s kind of expecting to be laid low for a day. We’ll see. Tylenol at the ready. My second is next weekend.

As you may know, it snowed here yesterday. This morning’s walk was cold, but mainly because we were underdressed. A chilly light rain falling on bare heads is no fun. Got my two and half miles in anyway.

As soon as K buzzed off, I spent a little time in my studio. It’s really been a while. I’m looking forward to hand-quilting this larger village quilt.

The happy accident of towers / woven strips finding each other is worth pursuing, I think. I’ll cut and weave into the yellow base near the buildings’ foundations and somehow resolve the areas where the white background ends too soon.

Befriending process

Yesterday, between the frightening news about trump’s ongoing efforts to undermine our upcoming election and a new construction project in an abutting neighbor’s backyard, I sought solace in the basement. It was cool. It was quiet.

First came two hours of writing class, then frustrating attempts to attach pieces of the giant global warming quilt. I decided to surrender to the difficulties, in a way, by working fast with top-stitched machine zig-zag. The results were disappointing. Some sections had three layers, some two, some one. Uck! I don’t want to mess with this shit right now and maybe not ever.

It’ll be separate, smaller pieces, then. I just spent a fair amount of time making C’s blanket which involved less than satisfactory technique — the sashing, the lumpy quilting — or I might have more patience for such rogue improvisation.

With the world on fire, tried and true techniques feel like a kind of safe-haven. Self care, even. Things are hard enough.

I wrote this post last night. It looks like I’ll be spending today in the basement as well — unbelievable noise — near jack hammering (not the slightly muffled kind we’ve had a lot of the summer up on route 9) and incessant trucks beeping in reverse. A true noise hellscape. Moments ago: helicopters and sirens. The backyard neighbor’s construction crew hasn’t arrived yet.

* Handwritten quote above from Krista Tippet interview with Stephen Jenkins.

Dream of care

I dreamt I was handmaiden to trump and tending to him during his bathing ritual. After his shower, I asked if he had enough towels.

What’s THAT about?

Feelings of compassion for the most contemptible and dangerous man on the planet? Feelings nowhere in evidence in the conscious mind. In fact, I am of that group of people who is astonished by how deeply I loathe the man (along with Barr and McConnell).

While frying up tofu for breakfast, I shuddered at the image of him coming out of the shower. Can you imagine? Even just from the neck up would be a horror show.

Meanwhile school is starting in one way or another.

I was heartened by two things during our evening stroll through the school yard and the upper field. One — we saw bats! Lots and lots of bats! I can’t remember the last time I laid eyes on a bat!

And two, some kind and generous souls planted up the raised beds next to the playground. Instead of rectangles of dirt, the kids come back to a lively tangle of green vegetation: tomatoes, kale, cabbage and more.

Lastly, as I noted over on Instagram, K and I were struck by how decrepit the tool shed we had installed years back looked. Time has slipped past while we were looking elsewhere.