Saturday, January 31, 2009

A pause for breath.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Yet more falling.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Wednesday, January 28, 2009


When the flakes finaly fell, they were small and fat like love notes.

Now, glitter below and glister above, my path by lamplight is six inches higher in hardpack, my footsteps groaning all the way home as though I were the world's ghost, as though I tracked the right wide floorboard, the broad plank on an iced ship.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Patter and hiss.

Padding home over the snow and under the ice falling from the leading edge of a coming storm, I was back on the white beach of old summers, working my legs by fighting for footholds in the sands the nearest waves could not reach.

Monday, January 26, 2009


It wasn't even like this here today, which is part of the reason I'm posting this picture. Tomorrow will be a full-on grading day, and I find that I am tired in advance. Fortunately, I have things like this to keep me fully, continually intrigued.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Look out below!

Here you see my resident birdseed gobbler just after he's lost his grip on the feeder. It took him all of 45 seconds to get back on the house and continue emptying it out. And because of the plastic film on the windows (which also creates the smeary-filter effect in this image), I can't even pound on the glass anymore to try to frighten him off. Now I have to bang the back door--which gets old after ten or fifteen rounds.

Of course--because it's Sunday night--this slipping squirrel is also a pretty fit image of what my intellectual life feels like right this second.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The business of the day.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Ssh, ssh.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

More snow on more stalks.

The return of visible sun is meaning so much.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


I'm getting used to having the ground covered, and I'm getting used to striding purposefully from one place to another, and I was just about to get used to not taking time for pictures. Fortunately, something possessed me to grab my camera bag as I left for class this morning, and by the time I left the officehouse, heading for my last meeting of the day, something special was happening with the light and the weeds. I wouldn't have thought this image would be my favorite from the day, which just goes to show that one never knows.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Some necessity.

What I need--I'm beyond wanting and on into needing now--is an additional brain. I'm impatient that I can't get all of these things done with the expediency and thoroughness I want. So: nothing for it but to rest up and make another try tomorrow, since that extra brain doesn't seem to be showing up.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Carrying on.

Sometimes teaching happens in spaces that are not classrooms, and all day today counts as one of those times.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


It was so cold on Friday that when I stopped to take pictures of the crabapples in front of the library, my fingers started to hurt even though I was wearing two pairs of gloves--my full-fingered ones and also my wool-and-polarfleece fingerless ones. It was worth it for the pictures. But it was really, truly as cold as I've felt it getting for a long time. This afternoon, I dug out my car (for the first time since coming back two weeks ago) and made my way to town on some errands, one of which was to acquire some window film to weatherproof my apartment. Somehow I hate the idea of cordoning off my living room window--what if I can't get good pictures of the birds anymore? And yet the drafts are so profound that I haven't been able to open my curtains for nearly two weeks--clearly not acceptable.

Tomorrow, I will spend my day memorializing. I hope that you will be able to, as well.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


Today, for the first time, I took home delivery of local, organic foodstuffs--the eggs and meats that will be staples in my diet for the next few weeks. Though the meat went straight to the freezer, the eggs went straight to the kitchen table for a photo session; the blues were an especially nice surprise. Bless those hens.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Sunrise, sunset.

My bedroom window, first thing in the morning.

My officehouse wall, last thing in the evening.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


There aren't a lot of days at the end of which I say to someone, "If I ever act that way, please kick me," but today was one. And when I thought I was all out of the woods, at the day's very end, there came one last little act of utterly willful misunderstanding. Which I am now marking here in order to make enough peace with it so that I can leave it outside my skull when I go to sleep.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


I opened the door to leave for class this morning and found flurries coming down. A little more snow, I thought. Off I strode. But by the time I made it to the corner, I realized that this snow was all sticking--and that the road was covering over.

By the time I came out of class an hour later, it was snowing harder. I came home through the snow and had my lunch here in the bright, warm kitchen. (And I took some pictures of what was coming, because I already knew I was leaving the camera behind, rather than taking it out again in what was coming down so hard.) By the time I trudged back to campus for my second class of the day (the second largest of my career!), inches had piled up.

The snow kept on until long after I came home tonight. Sometime in the early evening, largely because the windchill is supposed to be so severe starting tonight (stated high temperature for tomorrow: 4º F; windchill tomorrow night -25º F), campus security had e-mailed to tell us to walk with friends, or to call someone if we were setting out on our own. So, before I left the officehouse, I called my flaming-sworded friend and her husband to alert them. No one was quite sure what was supposed to have happened next had I not shown up. "I figured, I'll just take the same route home I always take," I told them once I was back. "And that way, if I fall over, at least I'll be somewhere predictable."

Before I turned the corner toward home, I stopped short in the road near a streetlight, and there, before and all around me, were the falling shadows of the flakes floating to the ground all around me, there in all that evening silence.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


A stray cat showed up outside the bushes of the next-door building last week, and now, having been named for said builgin, he's received (temporary) quarters in the officehouse while he recuperates enough so that our excellent administrative assistant can take him into her own home. Every day he gets more playful and more frustrated about the fact that my office door has to remain closed to him because of allergies. I make amends by swinging his fringey mouse toy around every once in awhile, and by miaowing back to him through my closed door when he shows up to say hello-and-why-the-hell-are-you-hidden-away-in-there.

And by taking his picture--which one can clearly see he is fully into.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The delicacy.

I have recommitted to walking to work instead of driving my car there; the snow and ice we've had lately has been a good goad. Happily, I find that I'm seeing more things again as a result.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

All a-sparkle.

Because I didn't have my camera to try to catch the effect, at dusk, of tiny glittery snow mica-flaked and sparkling over what had already fallen and crusted, I have to show you ice and snow from Friday. And sun! We saw a bit of that today, as well.

I am more scattered than I have been, filled up with the processes of getting the semester's logistics under control. I work towards spots of time and quiet, hoping they'll return as things get launched this week.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


I have enough snow on me already! the dragon must have said, for we ended up receiving not so much more than was already caping him yesterday afternoon. I awoke to hissing, to my mind the most frightening of winter sounds, but even the falling ice didn't mangle the world too badly.

I continue to plot and scheme the semester, which gets underway in just under 36 hours, which shocks me over and over again.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Dinner before snowstorm.

I call this piece "Walking to My Excellent Friends' House on an Icy Road."

Thursday, January 08, 2009

A coming storm.

Just as I began wondering whether we'd get any major snow this winter, the forecast came down: something like major snow is approaching, due to arrive here tomorrow evening.

I say "something like major" because every time I think of snow, I remember not being able to get to my car during the first week of classes in my second Rochester semester--and then, once I'd dug into my car, not being able to start it. I remember having to take a taxi to the first meeting of my second class. I remember how it snowed, day after day after day, from the beginning of January until the middle of February. We didn't miss a day in nearly six weeks; we got something like five feet of snow. I learned to drift in and out of parking places, riding strange billows of as-yet-unpacked snow, learning new ways to pilot my car even when its tires didn't feel as though they were making contact with the ground in any way.

And so a forecast of six to eight inches, or so, seems manageable. Lovely, even. Which doesn't mean that I won't go another round with my iced-in car tomorrow, getting it deiced and defrosted enough that I can get to the grocery store for what's left of the bread and milk that I'm sure my entire county is droving in to buy.

Today: sacrifices from my syllabus, a jettisoning of the books that just won't fit--and that I suspect I must have ordered under the delusion that a semester has eighteen weeks, not fourteen. What's left makes a syllabus I'm excited to start, though. This afternoon, I found myself wondering how it is that people doing introductory courses in my field find room to teach so many poems. And then I remembered: they don't teach so many novels. Ah. Yes. Having scratched out one novel, I am holding tight to the ones that remain. And though I am not deliberately setting out to frighten people off, I suspect that the first week's reading may do just that--at least to the ones who are faint of heart. To my mind, there's not really a way to tackle my historical period without tackling a whole lot of reading.

Something like an avalanche, even.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Little sentinel.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009


In this dream, it turns out that someone has quite unexpectedly fallen in love with me, and when I wake up, I am so pleased by this development that I know the better part of my heart is still biding its time in hope.

Monday, January 05, 2009


And today, all of a sudden, I'm back in my regular life: a meeting, a lunch, conversations in hallways and in the post office and on village streets, a dinner, a television show, more conversations. Tomorrow I have every intention of noodling around with my books, building up days and weeks and units. Building, that is, this next semester.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Back on out.

And now I have made the relatively short, relatively uncomplicated drive back from one home to the other. (You will be happy to know--if you are among those who care--that I took this picture well before the part of my drive that involves hours of interstate highways.) Aside from run-of-the-mill annoyances and the fact that gas prices jumped 40¢ between 27 December ($1.43) and today ($1.82), it was an absolutely uneventful journey. And once home, I fixed my vacuum cleaner (thanks to a key piece of advice from my engineer father: always check your belts! they might just be rattling around, attached to only one of their two contact points!) and was able to vacuum my living spaces properly for the first time since returning from England--which is to say, without having to use the 4" brush attachment to clean my whole apartment's floors.

Feels like a done day to me.

Saturday, January 03, 2009


One measure of home is whether or not someone waits patiently for you to come to bed. (That's my side, at the right of the picture; to get into the bed, I had to slip in underneath her paws and nose as smoothly as possible.)

Friday, January 02, 2009


Before the very fine grilled pork tenderloin dinner, and before the giggle-inducing screening of Mamma Mia!, there were the errands, more errands than I've run in this town for years. One of the errands took me to the video store, where it seemed like cruel mockery to photograph the mysterious clamp on the building's exterior (holding it together?), but where this particular hot mess felt like totally fair game.

Nearly two hours of driving the car all over town for envelopes and postage and DVDs and cooking supplies made me glad that I don't do much stop-and-go in my irregularly scheduled life.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

To the new year, a greeting.

To the old year, the back of the head.

(So saith the dog, anyhow.)

(And it's a sorrow--albeit a very small one--to me that though I now have a proper (and in fact extraordinary) flash for my camera, I will never be able to use it to shoot the dog, whom it terrifies because of its resemblance to lightning, the only part of thunderstorms that she can still perceive now that she's deaf. Just a test of the flash the night I came home from the Mayhem sent the dog into a fit of trembling that earned me my first serious parental reprimand in a long time.)