All hail the new season.

For now, my world is these spots of green, these shoots of new, dotted with fuzz and damp. Sharpnesses go soft; ground prepares to disappear for the next half-year. I pass the woods daily, wonder whether I should tramp and traipse and risk mud and groundsink before the poisonous weeds block me for the summer. Instead I strain toward tiny leaves, crouch to fallen blossoms, watch the world seed itself over. Instead I get closer to what I can already reach. Instead I practice focus. Instead I fight the impulse to autopilot.

On being my own biggest time suck.

Perhaps the thing I hate most about grading--much of which experience, for me, is taken up with having grading to do but very actively not wanting to do it--is that it helps enable my worst time-sucking capabilities. Or at least so I tell myself, here at the end of a weekend wherein I swore I would finish a batch of papers that, realistically, there was no way I'd finish. I'm approaching the halfway point, which should feel like a small triumph, and I'm chugging along through it and doing my very best--as, it turns out, did my students. It's possible that I've never received such a strong batch of essays all from one class. And so I sit here and hold myself down for one paper and then let myself float off for a few minutes, and then I hold myself down for another paper and then let myself float off for a few more minutes. Right now--as you surely must know--I'm floating. Off.

On the other hand! If I didn't have to grade, not only would I stop getting paychecks, but I'd also probably never discover things like this:

The dude at 1:11 is priceless.


Suddenly this year, in addition to all the tiny crocuses, we have tiny irises all over downtown. Bulbous splendor (for it turns out that these little ones aren't rhizomatic--who knew?)! Thank goodness for those who think ahead for us.

Vitality is on my mind this week--as in, what sustains it? And what swamps it? I feel myself being drawn off in every direction, and putting on clamps to staunch my outward flow is probably not going to be easy or entirely well-received, as choices go. And yet.

Unsuspected steps.

I have started passing these steps on an almost-daily basis. They lead from an old driveway into an old wood, and as far as I can tell, there are only these five. They put me in mind of a doorway I once saw that led from everywhere to everywhere: just a doorway, with no door.

Today was warm enough that at sunset, tiny birds were still pipping away in the trees.

Another open letter.

Dear universe,

You know that I'm always careful about what I wish for, and right now is no exception. But I think that I might be just about ready for my very own lovely and charming geeky partner in crime, if and when you get around to sending him my way (or vice versa). I've figured out that I've always gravitated toward brilliant men I could help heal or boost somehow, and I know exactly why that is. And I've figured out that during all these years I've thought I should end up with an academic or an intellectual, what I've really meant is that I think I want a dude whose unselfconscious geekiness will rival my own, whatever his particular thing is (within reason: please let this next one be able to talk to other people, because that last go-round was rough, socially speaking). Someone who'll get it when I want to spend a couple of hours sticking my lens into dried grasses would be appreciated. Someone who's into kitchen dancing would also be pretty great.

I think I'm ready to do my part, and my eyes are wide open. You just let me know.

Dr. S

More than meets the eye.

After lunch, downtown in my village:

Dr. S: Look! Someone made a Transformer face on that car, with tape. I'd take a picture if I didn't think it would make them feel self-conscious.

Dr. S's friend: I think that if you put a Transformer face on your car, you're not going to feel self-conscious about anything.

Dr. S: True.


Autobots wage their battle to destroy the evil forces of the Decepticons!

And then to go from one badass face to another--this one in the woods on the way home--made for a pretty excellent Saturday afternoon.

The road back.

Students are making their ways back to town, one by one by one. If I could, I'd say that I'm not at all apprehensive about the amount of work ahead of all of us. But I can't, because I am apprehensive. Instead, let's think about Innovations in the Photographic Arts, shall we? And let's also think about the care of the body: today a massage, tomorrow a haircut. I will make myself as ready as I can.

Out in the day.

It was a day that went on and on. A cat yawned, and I was there to catch it. Some other part of the world bloomed bright in an Ohio kitchen, and I crept beside it to take it home for someone who hates our world's cold grey.

A beloved friend drove me over backroads through my county to a restaurant I haven't visited in years, and I spent our lunch trying to figure out what the sign in the window across the street said.



I call this shot "My flaming-sworded friend returned from her parents' place, and because I finally had my car fixed this morning, I offered to drive us to the grocery store, and then we saw this sunset."

I call this shot "Clearly my excellent dog friend has never heard of TtV."

And I call this shot "Thank goodness spring really is on its way here."

First spring night.

Even if we're not yet at the equinox, I'm declaring tonight the first night of spring: the temperature went up and up and up all day--preparing to plunge tomorrow--and I ate my dinner in the breeze from the back door.

Still: it's possible that no one I know, anywhere, was as pleased today as this one bee. "Have you seen the crocuses yet?" a friend asked me the other day. "No, I haven't," I had to reply. But all of a sudden, this afternoon, there they were.