It has been a full season since I last wrote here. I dimly remember a dark winter, (are my socks still damp?) with sunlight rationed as though WW2 never ended. Right now, mid April and 70 degrees, we have an armistice: the bamboo is incandescent in sunlight above the pond and the towhee is singing his one song which is “towhee, towhee.” Annoying, but reassuring, as the song means “here I am, being myself, as usual, and by the way thankyou for not over-pruning the laurel hotel because we really like that leafy wallpaper. Is it British?”
What a relief! We got here! Eggs are being made and laid, the vaccine is working, and someone came for a toasted bagel in my kitchen today: we ate it unmasked, with butter! (I don’t know if it is possible to put too many exclamation points after the buttered toast….)
The little very small things make me very happy. 12 months of pandemic have wrought changes. I have found myself gravitating to the size of the page, an intimate space where art is not performance, but conversation: The missing intimacy of whispers and histories traded and notated in the margins; old books, primers, notions catalogs from St. Louis, 1923, the Seattle Telephone book 1947.
In this year the present has seemed indefinitely suspended, and I’ve been going back in time. One restless afternoon I stumbled onto one of Seattle’s last antique stores, soon to be leveled for condos, and began documenting it with my camera. Somehow, in the act of filming a book’s pages as I turned them, words lifted from the page and became sound. On my last visit there I came