The project "April 2007."

When I move photographs from my camera to my computer, my photo software tells me that it's importing images into particular projects. Because I'm attempting to become slightly systematic, I'm filing my pictures in projects named for each month. And so it is that Aperture is now toiling away on "the project 'April 2007,'" which seems just about right.

There will be no daunting, I told you confidently last night. Tonight's lesson, perhaps, is that things rarely go completely as planned. This morning, I showed up in the darkroom only to find that the exhaust fans were silent and remained silent no matter what I did to reset the room's power. Without a functioning exhaust system, printing pictures was a no-go. And so it is that I find myself, at the end of the day, wondering how it is that I'm going to have anything to show during Thursday's critique. And so it is that I have a chance to feel myself cleaving to my research once again: it's so clear to me that showing photographs on Thursday is not nearly as important as writing this week. I don't want to choose between art and research, but if forced to choose, I'm smarter than to choose wrong. What's singularly frustrating, though, is the fact that I have some tremendous portraits of my beautiful Lexingtonian friend, and I want to show them off. Fortunately, my photography classmates are not my only audience. And if what I'm after is ego-stroking, I can surely get it in more professionally productive ways than by putting my research off in order to print and mount portraits.

But still, those portraits!

Something possessed me to start reading about Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning last night; I think that something is called "a procrastinatory impulse." But it's been a fine stroke of fortune so far. Have I told you this before? Robert Browning's opening lines, in his first letter to Elizabeth Barrett (a famous poet six years his elder, whom he'd never met) on 10 January 1845:

I love your verses with all my heart, dear Miss Barrett--and this is no off-hand complimentary letter that I shall write... Since the day last week when I first read your poems, I quite laugh to remember how I have been turning and turning again in my mind what I should be able to tell you of their effect upon me...
By the end of the letter, he's saying more:
in this addressing myself to you--your own self, and for the first time, my feeling rises altogether. I do, as I say, love these books with all my heart--and I love you too.
Yes, it is true: when I can mix some swooning into my research, I do it. I am a sentimentalist at heart. I will not lie about it. I have some miserable married people in my book project. It's important for me not to forget the ecstatically married ones.

Taking a break from reading about the Brownings (for the Brownings they became in September 1846), I strolled to the bookstore in the dusk to have a bagel. As I was leaving the officehouse, my dear classicist friend drove by, heading to orchestra practice. I rerouted myself so as to catch up with him briefly and thereby found myself confronting a lovely bush that usually blooms whitely around this time of year (cf. last April 15). Everything is living a different life this April; this unforeseen shock of cold has us all altering the ways we bloom, holding back in some ways, leafing out in others. I find myself in love with the featheriness of these leaves; I find myself begging that these buds will hang on just a few days longer.

A student stopped to ask what I was doing, peering around at this unassuming plant, and so I showed him what I was by that time trying to chase

and he said, "Wow. I would have walked right past that, if you hadn't been there looking at it." Such, I suppose, is my power.

It's the crabapples I'm worrying about most, because they were so gloriously beautiful last year. Only a few more days, the weather sites tell us, before we're reliably back above freezing. Just hang on a few more days.

The best startle of the night came as I headed back to the officehouse after I'd eaten my bagel. At 8:30, the sky was still light. This, for me, is the blessing of spring. (This, and the fact that I can go out for what I think is going to be an uneventful walk and come back with a camera full of tiny wonders.) Tonight's top image is an experiment in not-focusing. I can't hold a camera still at night anyway, so I figured I'd see what would happen if I aimed for colors and lights, rather than a set of steady outlines. What happened is that I caught the world as it looks to me when I take off my glasses. I'm sort of in love with that one.