2020


I blink and the hour flashes by. I see my father, stuffing old photographs into a box, in preparation for what he intends as his last move across an ocean. "Photographs are memories," he defends. "Those are the only important things to save."

Writing is an act of desperation, of dragging things out of my brain and sealing them onto some externally visible substrate. It is an act borne of fear, the anxiety of watching the minutes and days change over outside of human control. There is no stopping the tide that pulls your carefully sculpted sandcastle to sea; there is no holding the sides of your snow fort together during a midweek rainstorm.

Annually, folks ask each other for their goals and resolutions for the new year; it is curiosity, mutual accountability, idea-stealing, and maybe just idly filling the space with another human's desires so your own space seems less lonely. This, too, is an act borne of fear. This is us huddled together around a fire as the sunlight fades, wondering what dangers might reach us during the vulnerable period of sleep. We check in with other friendly souls to see who is still standing with us. The only way to survive is to cluster in groups.

I flip backwards through pages and pages of notes, filled with words torn out of my head. Does giving them form make them real? Does capturing them dispel their power? Does removing them free that space for others?

What am I so afraid of? What can any of us be so afraid of?

Fear is an emotional response to the perception of danger. High levels of uncertainty and confusion can present the appearance of danger. Just because you experience fear, does not mean you cannot continue forward.

This has been a good year for lessons.

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31 December 2020 13:57


taxonomy


hundreds of daffodils shake out of the soil, pried gently from hardened clay. they tumble heavily onto butcher paper, gently wrapped and left on the porch to dry. boxwood roots stretch into the spaces they leave behind.

i clear some plants, which i deem weeds, to make room for other plants, which are also weeds. balloon flowers can stay because i think they are cute. fireweed can stay because it has been here for longer than i have. bindweed must always go.

from hours of staring at plant identification charts, some words embed themselves into my consciousness, even as i don't think of myself as a dedicated botanist. when i see a wide-spreading flower with a central ball and thin petals, my mind whispers asteraceae, the flower like a star. slowly, in my head, i build a dichotomous key from scratch. and this is how is goes.

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15 August 2020 22:05



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