When the Reading Gets Thin


Finally finished the south wall clapboards. The cats are pleased and frankly, so am I.

Last week’s short-but-serious thaw reduced the snowpack to scant and intermittent patches, in the process revealing a strange assortment of items lost or misplaced or intended for winter burial. In the shadows of the barn, I found the pair of choker chains I’d long assumed had been sacrificed to the woods, and the pleasure of this discovery mitigated the revelation that the cats have spent the winter masticating rats and leaving their half-eaten corpses to mingle with the accumulating snow. I’m glad for the catching, less glad for the gruesome remainders, the long, slick tails like frozen baby snakes. I found three bucket lids and one tape measure, all well-preserved and in perfect operating condition. Now, everywhere is ice, glare and glistening under the rare moments of sun, and every step is fraught with peril. I fall at least once per day, grateful that I still have some bounce in my bones.

I have been absent this space a long time, fallen right out of practice, which puts me in violation of my very best writing advice, which is simply to write. Though in truth, I have been writing, just not here, and perhaps not with the recommended frequency. I’ve also been teaching, and I love my class, I love the students, and the conversations we have, and I’m repeatedly struck by their maturity and openness, which I can’t help but measure against their youth, and think damn: I wish I’d known what they know when I was that age. But I didn’t, and in some regards still don’t, and I suppose that right there is a big part of why the teaching is so fun: Because I’m the one being taught.

I’m gonna try to keep up with this space a little better. I like the connection I feel to it, and also to my readers, particularly those who’ve stuck with me for so long. Thank you all for sticking around, even when the reading gets thin.

Music: Tyler Childers doing Whitehouse Road. For you locals, he’s playing Higher Ground tonight. For ten freakin’ bucks. We’re fired up.