I pass by the parking lot a few times a week on my routine walks. It’s a small square of concrete that belongs to a 3-story apartment building. The building is unremarkable — a brown paper bag of brick with mid-sized bay windows facing a busy street that’s kind of a junk drawer of places: two-family houses, sketchy real estate offices, a hardware store from the 1950s, a laundromat that doubles as an art gallery (totally real), and, in my opinion, the crown jewel of the stretch: the Ace of Fades barber shop.

I can only imagine that the units…

Spring is the horniest season, horticulturally speaking. One day it’s nothing but dirt the color of an ashtray left unattended at a casino slot machine and the next — shazam! Nature is all heavy-breathing and green tumescence. Tightly coiled buds pulse, eager for release like sweaty teens awkwardly pawing each other on the basement couch. No judgment. Spring is all about the freaky fling, horticulturally speaking.

The randiest seasonal offender is, without a doubt, the magnolia tree. Even before they bloom in earnest, they get you with this come hither move. Their buds look like fingers drawn up together as…

I’m not ready. Are you?

Apparently the pandemic is coming to a close. Only four episodes left before the 3-hour series finale with limited commercial interruptions sponsored by Progressive Insurance. Streaming live. Tweet about it with your friends.

Aside from the hours and weeks spent paralyzed by palpable dread and anxiety, that sure went by pretty fast! And here I am rotating my three pairs of soft pants (denim? Isn’t that the new Coldplay album?) and finally realizing my childhood dream of being able to sit on my hair. Is this all I have to show for myself? Split ends…

In the last 365 days I have seen more wildlife than I have in all my years on the planet — eagles, cardinals, herons, swans, deer. Some of them incongruously skulking around the city.

In the last 365 days, it seems pretty clear that humans are the incongruous ones.

In the last 365 days, I felt the air grow sweeter, the silences open up to allow us to hear again, the natural world become softer and more like its wild self.

In the last 365 days, I fell in love with my neighborhood, my local surroundings. I met Magnolia trees…

New England is haunted. I suppose you could say the same for places like New Orleans, San Francisco, and Chicago. But I’m a life-long New Englander and have the most experience with this area. And besides, it’s almost required by law around here for us to be ego-centric jerks about this kind of thing.

Take a step in any direction around one of these towns and you’ll inevitably come upon the resting place, dwelling place, or meeting place of the deceased folks who lived and worked and fought there and probably invented something annoyingly vital like shoelaces or love songs…

Winter, I’m giving notice. I’m quitting. I’m out. I’m done-zo. No need to bring in HR for an exit interview. I barely have anything in my desk anyway — a packet of tissues, a pair of mittens, a small box of festering despair. You can burn my file. I was about to do that for warmth anyway.

This is the time of the season that breaks me. I think if you conducted an informal poll of New Englanders, the non-skiers, non-snowboarders, non-cold-weather-activity-enthusiasts, and I’m including the people who think it’s perfectly fine to jump into the ocean in the middle…

The heron glided silently along the river’s surface like a heat seeking missile. The snow had been falling softly for hours. The landscape blanched like an over-exposed negative. Street signs, trees turning black against the blank canvas, the occasional fearful, red flare of break lights were the only distinguishing markers. It was a not unpleasant disorientation. These days, variety in any form is welcome.

I almost didn’t go down to the river. I had gotten about half-way, slipping and sliding along what I assumed to be sidewalks, wading into snowbanks to avoid getting clipped by the plows out roving like…

Three middle-aged men stand in a small section of parking lot in front of the iron gates of the boating club. The club sits on the edge of a dam splitting the upper and lower portions of the lake. In the pink light of dawn, the men adjust their spotting scopes and peer through cameras outfitted with comically long phallic lenses. I watch them as they chat and sip coffee from their travel mugs and thermoses. Every couple of minutes they lean down, their heads bobbing behind their scopes much like the creatures they are intent to observe. Birdwatchers.

Suddenly…

A few things have transpired since I took this photo in early May. The virus has wreaked havoc with our lives, bringing us and “normal” to our knees. Jobs don’t look and feel like they once did. Schools are operating wild west, frontier style. A little over a week ago, insurrectionists stormed our nation’s capital in an attempted coup stamped with presidential approval. Definitely not normal, at least not in modern America. Life has a Vegas meets Mardi Gras meets high school graduation rager kind of vibe to it where the unexpected, bizarre, and absurd hang out. …

I paused at a place where the trail curves and rises in a subtle incline. Gaps in the patches of trees broke up the shoreline like openings in a fence. Across the water a large stand of tress jutted out into the lake. Their tall black spines set against the sky the color of flint, downstrokes of ink. Beautiful in their obstinance. Fog had poured itself into every crook and crevice of the landscape. The hills and houses I knew existed on the shore beyond were muted, disappeared through blissful oblivion. …

Sheila M.

Author: League of Extraordinarily Funny Women (Running Press); Copywriter, Humorist, Photographer-visit: sheilamoeschen.com

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