February 21, 2017 (Tuesday)

by Yule Heibel on February 20, 2018

The “squirrel mind” was very active during this morning’s meditation, ranging from aspirations about cleaning up and even remodeling the basement (taking out the dropped ceiling, e.g.) to proposing a dance club at Local Vision. Two grackles – I call them that even if I’m not really sure they are grackles – just landed on the tree entwined by winterberry vine. They’re eating the seeds, making a meal of it. It’s certainly not their breakfast – I’m sure these birds have been up for hours and already foraged their first bite long ago. Now a female cardinal added herself to feast at the buffet. The “grackles” flew off. These possible grackles are, to my mind, a harbinger of spring. When it’s really spring, they congregate en masse, their black and slightly sparkly, jewel-colored speckled feathers and lighter, orange-y beaks, enlivening their otherwise sombre, 17th century Dutch appearance. Tulips might not be far behind once they teem in still-bare trees.

Meanwhile, today, the sun is scorching my exposed neck, decollete, shoulders, arms. I’ve lowered the blind, but not so much that I can’t see out – or that the sun can’t hit me most insistently. Wake up! I’m here and getting hotter. Just wait till summer, you’ll beg for mercy. I lower the blind by another foot; instantly, my neck and chest and shoulders feel icy in comparison.

Yesterday E. spent the entire morning at her desk, finishing up something for work which she’d forgotten about, and also running to the bathroom with stomach complaints, and then the whole afternoon in bed. She’s sick with who-knows-what – hasn’t been to a doctor for a checkup (annual) in years (thank you, Canadian fucked up health care which makes finding a GP nearly impossible), and is constantly sick with something or other. She blames sick building syndrome at her workplace, her co-workers are also often ill, but she hasn’t been in that building since 2/10 and today is 2/21. I think it’s the food (vegetarian, often vegan, carb-heavy). But I can’t say anything. Anyway, it’s upsetting that she’s sick (again), for her and for us, and that we can’t go anywhere, go out, etc., and she’s spending the whole beautiful, relatively warm, and certainly fabulously sunny time here in her room with the blinds down. No fresh air. No sunshine. Not good. Maybe today we’ll manage to get her out – although this afternoon might be cloudy. It’s supposed to rain a bit during the night.

Yesterday, frustrated, I finally went on an errand, car-less, to find frozen peas for risotto and some spring mix salad greens. It was a long and fruitless hunt through downtown, and finally I had to admit that I would have to go to the big corporate chain supermarket a bit out of the way, as not a single independent store downtown sold anything resembling fresh salad greens or even frozen peas. Food? Not much call for it. Artisan coffee, though, we got that. To get to the car-centric corporate chain supermarket surrounded by acres of asphalt parking, I crossed the train tracks, went past the hardware and lumberyard store, as well as the expensive bath fixtures store, and walked down the road that runs past the skateboard park and baseball field. An older man (younger than me, though) was near the river (on the field) with a small mountain of bread which he was distributing to a massive crowd of gulls and a few Canada geese. There must have been about two hundred birds. He wore a cap. I had just washed my hair, and avoided getting close to the sometimes swirling birds. I chatted briefly with a young guy shooting hoops on the basketball court in front of the skateboard park, went to the corporate chain supermarket, and then walked home.

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