The Dance of Spring
Posted on April 3, 2020 Posted by John Scalzi 34 Comments
Spice is performing it for you! Enjoy.
Also, spring is now here in Ohio, which means some sun but mostly clouds and rain, but when it’s sunny we all go out into the outside. Social distancing means something different when you live in a rural area — I took a three and a half mile walk yesterday and the only person I saw out and about was the Amish fellow who fixes our lawn mower when it breaks down, as I walked past his place of business. We had a nice chat across a ditch. He was the first person I’ve spoken to live who was not a family member or a delivery person in almost three weeks.
The walk (and a similar walk I took a couple days earlier) were for exercise, which is important during a quarantine, but also recognition that even someone who is as much a homebody as myself actually needs a change of scenery once in a while. Also it’s nice to see that even as humans stay home the rest of nature is busy doing its thing, waking up from winter and coming online for spring as if nothing much has changed. The mortal concerns of man don’t seem to matter much to the birds and the trees, and there’s something reassuring about that. Life does go on, even if right now we’re mostly looking through a window as it does.
How are you doing?
We had spring here in Winnipeg but yesterday brought a return to winter with a storm that dumped about 15 cm of heavy wet snow. And tonight the temperature is predicted to be -20 deg. C (which is about -5 F I think). So spring dancing is going to have to wait a few days.
Up until yesterday we were taking a 3.5 km walk with the dog every day and it was nice to see the returning birds. First it was Canada Geese finding the best spots around the Duck Pond in our local park. Then our neighbourhood Merlin made an appearance at the top of a nearby tree. Last week we saw our first robin of the year and Tuesday some Red-winged Blackbirds showed up at a retention pond we pass on our walk. Even during the snow yesterday I saw a couple of Dark-eyed Juncos. They usually forage on the ground for food but because of the snow that was not possible so they were eating from our sunflower seed feeders. I imagine all of these birds are a little nonplussed about the return to winter; hopefully it will warm up soon and this snow will disappear again.
Please keep posting spring pictures. It will give me hope.
Living on a busy road makes seeing people easier even if just from my front porch. My neighbor and I take six feet apart walks on nicer days. My partner is around more because his gym is closed. My garden looks great and I have time to weed because my home business, childcare, is closed. I keep in touch with my four children and eight grandchildren.
I’m mostly ok but today is hard. I have a new grandson, born I Ireland six weeks ago. I was scheduled to go see him tonight. I haven’t hugged his brother and sister since last summer.
Thank goodness for FaceTime!
I am grateful that all of the people I love are safe so far.
But mostly I’m grateful to all of the people caring for the sick. I’m grateful to all the scientists working day and night to find ways to fight this. They are heros.
Not, however, the First of May, with a shoutout to JoCo…
Fort Collins was at 70 on Wednesday, and snowed yesterday. This morning it was 18. Colorado has about three false springs every year. Really, we don’t do any planting until after Mother’s Day, unless you have a greenhouse.
Fair to partly cloudy.
My late and lovely man planted a bay tree in the front garden, surrounded by a little hollow square of box hedge. This week, I noticed that the goldfinches are making a nest in the bay. Spring!
Spring is also starting in MI, finally. Although, I’m waiting for the inevitable snow in April, before I trust it to stay.
I’m enjoying my week of solitude at home, before I’m back to work. Which involves airports, hotel and hospital. And masks. Lots of masks. In the meantime, I’ve been outside trying to get my yard cleaned up. I think my daffodils will be blooming by the time I’m back home again.
We are going through mountain spring here in Northeastern Oregon, which means it’s sunny and warm one day, cold and snowy the next. Earlier in the week we got a dump of about eight inches of wet snow which is slowly melting off. Not complaining because that’s our summer water.
But also because of location, it’s been a two month slog. While we’re in Oregon, all of our news is from Spokane, so we had in-depth pandemic coverage starting in late January when people started getting sick in Seattle because the Spokane affiliates were carrying the Seattle news. Our county locked down hard in mid-March because, as an outdoor recreation gateway, we got hit hard by people looking to get outside. It wasn’t as intense as other places, but it was enough that the county locked down all facilities, firmly requested that local motels and short-stay (i.e. AirBnb) facilities close down to non-essential stayers (due to the nature of our location, truckers and other workers do need a place to stay). Most of our local businesses had already either closed or were open by appointment anyway. The local farm co-op store is open, but has a sanitizer station at the door (it needs to stay open because it’s still feeding season here, calving and foaling season has started and it’s a major supply source, and spring farming activity is starting up). The county has parked a sign at the one major highway entering the area reading STAY HOME.
I almost broke into tears while reading the latest issue of our little weekly newspaper. I don’t know if this was a deliberate staff choice (very possible, this paper is a part of a regional chain ownership that is now in its third or fourth generation) but the voice was very calm, measured, and hearkening back to accounts of epidemics from 100 years ago in tone. It was both reassuring to read news without the panicked and political elements and yet saddening as well. Full page articles from our local hospital that just laid out the facts about our resources and not afraid to say “we don’t know” about some things. We have four ventilators for a population of around 7000. Six more are on order. Normally ICU patients are evacuated, but the hospital is making plans in the eventuality that they will need to take on that function. Institutional memory about surviving on our own is very strong here, and I’m grateful to see it because it is not true for every small community like this.
I’m ticked off because I do finally have a breakout book, but my sense of the business is that given my demographics and the possible impact of the pandemic on publishing, welp, things are going to be backlogged worse than ever for anyone trying to break into traditional publishing. Story of my writing life–every time I’m on the brink of a breakthrough, something big and drastic happens either personally or in society to screw it up. Instead, I’m going to try something I’ve not done before, and write a complete trilogy before releasing it at two week intervals hopefully in November. Promote the heck out of it, and hope that maybe, just maybe, I might be something greater than “the best writer I’ve never heard of” (which is a critical comment I’ve received more than once. Sigh).
Today is my last day of work for an unknown period. I had to release most of my team, too. It’s been a rough week. But the temperature is creeping up outside, the grass starting to emerge from its winter blanket, the birds are returning and energized. I’ll start our seeds for the vegetable garden. I’ll catch up on a few books. I’ll get out into the sunlight – which we can now feel, and not just see – and surround myself with the moments of renewal that happen every spring. Life does go on, and we will go on with it.
I’ll also be checking in here every day! No pressure Scalzi but it seems to me that this is the perfect tie for you to finally gonna finish Winds of Winter.
High winds and pouring rain here in the Boston area. It’s impossible to schedule a slot for online ordering and curbside pickup so I ventured out into the big scary world and bought enough groceries to hopefully last at least 2-3 weeks. I wore gloves and a mask but it still kinda freaked me out. Otherwise I’m hunkered down with my wife and the cats. I’m hoping the weather gets better so we can get out and take a walk. We do indeed live in interesting times.
Well, I still go to work (no WFH for me), and I don’t have, many outside hobbies. Most of the time I spend outside is (besides work) the gym and the occasional visit to one of the local pubs. The gym isn’t much of an issue – I already do some working out at home – but it does make it harder to catch up with podcasts.
However, the vast majority of my friendships are heavily based on seeing one another, so my social life has taken a gigantic hit.
So my day to day life hasn’t changed much, but I’m still feeling it
I’m also in Colorado, Nancy. Here in Denver we got a couple of inches of snow overnight, which is melting fast. I hope it insulated the blossoms of our apricot tree. (Note for Colorado gardeners: I don’t recommend growing an apricot unless you can regard it as a very pretty flowering tree that occasionally gives fruit, like, twice in five years.) My husband and I are both well. We don’t have to leave the house to have income, which is a good thing as we’re both in at-risk categories.
I am struggling to adjust to the fact that when the newscasters talk about our vulnerable elderly, they include me. How can someone who’s getting into self-publishing and is learning all sorts of new skills for that, be elderly? Damn calendar. Damn knees.
The Prince Among Men is definitely at risk, as he’s over 80, has diabetes and occasional breathing issues. We are being very careful. He’s also working on my self-pub project, learning Blender and Make Human to have posable figures for book covers. He assures me he’s enjoying this.
This post has gone on quite long enough. We are well, we have a nice house to shelter in and a garden to enjoy. We are fortunate.
A foot of snow still on the ground is how we’re doing here in Edmonton, thank you for asking.
Upper 60’s today, but supposed to be cold and wet all weekend. Socializing on Zoom (and I don’t have to change out of my pajamas!), listening to a lot of weird stuff on YouTube. Put arugula and spinach in the planter boxes out back. Put teddy bears in the window for the neighborhood Bear Hunt. Put up a bird feeder to amuse the cat (who tried to pounce through the window once; hope she learned something from that). Hangin’ in.
Hanging in there. Was the photo in your blog header today taken in Perth?
One of my favorite things to see is a cat (like Spice) rolling and flopping on cement. I’ve had many cats who relished in doing that. Also, I am the new father to a 9-week-old german shepherd puppy. I got her when she turned 8 weeks, so she’s officially a week with me. I’m learning that the moniker “land shark” is most appropriate for this girl. She’s an absolute treasure, though. and I’m looking forward to the months and years to come. Her name is L’Rell, after the Mary Chieffo character in Star Trek:Discovery who becomes chancellor of the Klingon Empire.
Hey Mr S… Shlogging through this New England Spring (rain, rain, cold, more rain)… Have plenty of TP, food, made some masks that might save me some day. Maybe! Miss going outside and not freaking out when I touch a shopping cart…..
Do you have problems with ticks and fleas on your animals that shift between inside and outside? When we lived in the country in Southern MD decades ago we ended up having pets be either inside or outside–with the local flea and tick infestations as bad as they were having a pet act as a carrier between the two worlds didn’t work.
Here on the other side of the world (NZ), it’s a lovely sunny early Autumn day. Temp is 15c (59f) currently, and forecast high for my area is 18c (64f); further North (i.e. towards the equator), it’s probably going to get to 22c/72f.
However, the flip side is the entire country is under day 9 of Govt-Mandated Lockdown, so everyone MUST stay home unless their outside for exercise or something related to an essential business. Supermarkets are open; goiinig to get groceries counts as “essential” but very little else. No cafes, restaurants, takeaways. No Uber Eats or simiilar schemes. No hairdressers. No recreation stores / DIY stores. Some online shopping, but only for “essentials”, which includes whitewear, heaters, and home-office supporting equipment. Most people WFH if they are able; some people still going into “essential” businesses – so, each major area has banking facilities, for example. And back-office staff like contact centres still running with people in offices – but well spread out; like every 3rd desk only.
It’s the “new normal” for us – and expected to stay that way for another 3 weeks at a minimum.
And, you know, most people are managing; society is amazingly flexible when it comes down to it.
Fighting a book promotion burnout.
“even as humans stay home the rest of nature is busy doing its thing, waking up from winter and coming online for spring as if nothing much has changed. The mortal concerns of man don’t seem to matter much to the birds and the trees,”
Not to be gloomy, here in the renewal of Spring, but this part reminds me of the closing lines of Sara Teasdale’s “There Will Come Soft Rains”:
“Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree
If mankind perished utterly;
And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn,
Would scarcely know that we were gone.”
Watching the rain pour down while the sun shines on the other side of the harbor. Our ferry service has been cut in half, as walk-on passenger numbers have dropped by 80%; the farmers’ market was scheduled to open tomorrow, and now we’ve no idea when it will happen.
At least when the weather’s horrible it’s easier to stay in, to make tea and wrap up warmly and pull out the gardening books.
Hanging in there, Mr. S. In it for the long haul.
Due to stress (mostly pandemic but not all), we took the day off and my amazing spouse made a picnic for me. We’re not really outdoorsy types (especially me), but it was so nice to go to a park and use one of the picnic tables for a simple feast for two. :-) God bless my spouse!
And seriously, just getting out for fresh air and a change of scenery was nice, too. I’m trying to get myself out of the house for walks, but I have thus far resisted (sigh, foolish self). Soon, maybe this weekend, now that I’ve had a taste of proto-spring. . . .
So, surviving and thank you for the great cat photo. Cat photos help! :-)
I’m mostly hanging out on goodreads and making my way through an extensive library of audiobooks.
As far as virus related info is concerned, I try to limit myself to the NBC nightly news and a handful of articles so as not to get bogged down in more Anger, worry, and uncertainty. I can only take so much “Navel Captain the Latest Casualty in America’s Perpetual Sociopolitical War”” Impending SHTF Means Spending Money You Don’t Have on looters and ruthless, home invading hunting party deterrents,” ”broken supply lines will cause food shortages,” “the covid 19 surge is coming your way and you’d better be prepared” and “this and that many thousand people lost their lives today” before I have to retreat into gory police procedurals and fluffy cozy mysteries.
The “I didn’t stock up on food or supplies when everyone else said Coronavirus was serious but, now that faux news has verified it, you’re in trouble if my kids are hungry and I’ve got a gun” comments on these videos and articles make me want to pray for a much swifter end to humanity
Right here and now, I’m relatively safe and comfortable. Admittedly, though, the prospect of societal collapse (this looks more and more like a sure thing with front-liners like first responders, medical professionals, and other essential workers falling ill, growing afraid, or dying) has me grieving for the life we had just six months ago. ☹
I am also from Winnipeg, where what was a beautiful start to spring has been reset to winter over the past two days. As pretty as the snow is and as much fun as kids are likely having making snowmen/other snow art, I find it feels all too much like a regression. I’ve been working from home since March 17th, and having to miss out on some big meet-ups with friends I haven’t seen in a while is starting to get to me. Not being able to spend time with my family is also hurting too; I work in health care as part of our Radiation Safety team, so I know this is for the best, but I would love to be able to hug my parents, sister, and niece again for the first time in weeks.
I’m hoping that I can go for a run tomorrow morning, (the sidewalks were a snow-covered disaster today) which usually boosts my mood. Getting everything out here helps.
The Rite of Spring ends with the chosen one dancing herself to death. Hope Spice isn’t going to take it that far.
Still slogging away teleworking from home. Still making a concentrated effort to take a lunchtime .7 to .75 mile walk daily. Still come across a few people (with the appropriate anti-socializing gap between) while walking, and for at least 16 to 20 minutes per day, I get to feel/act normal in the process. Spring is sloooooowly coming to the little mountain here (still looks like the aftermath of an old Civil War battlefield in places), but it still brings a small sliver of some peace of mind to the day.
I walk around the block a coupla times a week, just as always. It’s 3.5-ish miles for one block, and 3.9-ish miles for the other. I seem to be seeing fewer walkers than usual, but usual is sometimes zero, so it’s hard to tell. What I miss is getting to greet and pet all the dogs (with owner permission, of course). When I see dogs now, the owners are keeping them on their own side of the road. I’ve always kinda practiced antisocial distancing, so I don’t miss the humans so much. (Also, full disclosure, I started to write “doggy woggies” instead of dogs, but I felt I don’t know you-all well enough for that.)
Here in Rochester NY we have to wait until May to start most planting, though with the mild winter and early spring (daffodils already!) I did put in some snow peas, hoping. I am working from home, though mostly retired, it’s good to interact with others, if only by email. Had my first zoom meeting/lecture via my church, which was great. Fortunately the dogs require going out for at least a mile every day, which I do early in the morning. So far, so good.
I don’t know how to answer that question.
Right now, I feel depressed as all hell and I’m having a very hard time mustering up the energies to do anything productive.
A poet / songwriter, who works horses as well, in rural Oregon (quotes Tennyson a bit):
Work becomes a form of prayer,
and God is the country,
and I have been there.
“and therein grew great tracts of Wilderness,
wherein the beast was more & more
but man was less & less.”
and God is the country,
and I have been there.”
Lovely cat and you are right, it’s important to get out and enjoy a walk. How nice that you can do so without having to worry about bumping into two many people. We’re set to have a really beautiful day today, but I live in an urban area so I’m afraid a lot of people will be walking on the streets. The best thing is for me to go for my walk very early to avoid everyone.