Correspondence, April 2020

I received an unexpected, and much-welcomed, message from a colleague, asking how I was doing. My response ran a little long, so I thought I would reproduce it here. Annotated with links, where applicable.

Double-flowering bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadensis, blooming in my backyard, April 2020

We are doing well, as well as can be expected. My husband and I have both been (lucky enough to be) working from home. It’s 5 weeks for me this week.

I’ve been writing a weeks-long thread on Twitter.

I’ve been writing about the experience on my blog. I started on the Solstice, when I’d already been working from home for weeks. Later posts borrow from my Twitter thread, and past blog posts. I’m sure I’ll be writing more in the days and weeks and months ahead:

I even got a short piece published in McSweeney’s. And that got picked up to be re-published by YES Magazine. Nothing online yet.

I had multiple engagements planned for this Spring, and into the Summer: speaking on a panel about pollinators in NYC, a neighborhood plant swap, workshops with community gardens. All cancelled. On paper, I’m still going to Eiseman’s leaf-miner course in Vermont in August, but I expect that to be cancelled, as well.

NYC has just started to turn the corner of the immediate crisis the past few days. Recovery – economic, psychological, sociological, political – will be ongoing over generations. There will be an immediate need for trauma and grief support and recovery for emergency, health care, and other front-line workers.

Every night at 7pm, everyone goes outside, into the street, onto their porches, or leaning out their windows, and makes noise for all those working through this, from ER docs to grocery clerks to delivery drivers.

Before everything went whack, I bought a big birding lens. I’ve been out 3 times during this period to Prospect Park. The lens weighs a ton, but it makes all the difference. Adding all my photos as Observations to iNaturalist, of course!

The garden is a salve. I ordered seeds and plants, neither of which I’d been planning to do. I’m giving away plants from my garden to my neighbors to make room for my new acquisitions.

I’ve got a new bee species record for my garden! Just awaiting confirmation from a second identifier.

I’ve vacation coming up, for Earth Day and City Nature Challenge. Planned before all this began. I extended it to make it a solid week. We’re not supposed to be taking public transit for non-essential activities, but I have a car and can get around to most places. Gardens are closed, but public parks are still open, for now. I’m looking forward to some intense observartin’. Both “abroad” and in the garden.

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