This is a storm-sewer cover in my neighborhood, and cropping and realigning it was an insoluble problem. Either the text is centered and upright, or the fish and weeds are. OCD does no favors sometimes.
My days are getting floppy. I sat outside for an hour yesterday, blinking at the sunlight and drinking iced tea, not thinking or anything else. I was rewarded by a small hawk tearing across my yard toward the wood behind the house, some carpenter bees checking out the last of the tulips, a couple dozen grackles gracelessly settling in my front yard before heaving themselves back into the air. Some clouds, moving slowly. The Japanese maple's new leaves, tiny and crumpled. The sound of the grass.
Depending on what I tell you about last week, I can make it sound anything from disastrous to cheerful and affirming. These days, our pleasures and worries are so alloyed that they are impossible to separate out. Perhaps it would in any case be a pointless exercise, because they are occurring simultaneously: worry about my knee blends with delight in going for a walk; worry about my job happens in the same moment I pour myself an iced tea and look contentedly across my clean kitchen. What's at the front of my brain at any given moment is actually many things, even as others do drop into the background. Maybe this is why life is sort of exhausting for so many right now. I did hear stressful rumors this week, things I can't do anything about but which if they come to pass, will nevertheless affect me a lot. (If they stop being rumors, I will certainly talk about them in detail.) Maybe I have reached a certain fatigue level, because I was moderately upset on Day One; and by Day Two, I was either resigned or ignoring it, and doing research again.
I love research. Trying to bring myself up to speed on something new, ping-ponging between primary and secondary sources, collecting and sorting my notes; beginning to fill in the gaps to create a living, breathing time or place or person I can write about -- this is a great pleasure for me, and since I began teaching, I don't often have the time and space to do it properly. I have been reading and taking notes for a couple of hours a day right now. At some point my notes will start to include, not just the things I have read, but little dialogue exchanges or phrases that will make their ways into the book. I am starting to see this happen, so that's a very good sign.
Sundays are my big work day. I prep both classes, read all the student work I haven't already read, and focus my attention for the upcoming week. No amount of bribes make me eager to start, but usually once I have started, things go along perfectly well. This is usually the last thing I do before I start that, and so...here we are. Wish me well.