Looking Closely Again

I’m not sure why I keep writing here, but I think it’s because it gives me a sense of purpose. It is important to keep writing, drawing, playing music, dancing, creating, finding the beauty in anything. It’s work to see the beauty in life right now, in so many ways, and it takes a lot to lift us up. Although the green is starting to pop, it’s still very dry and dull when you look through the trees–the leaves are flat and brown, the trees gray and bare. You have to look closely in order to see the beauty that is blooming, especially on these gray and cloudy days we’ve been having.

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I went to the river this morning, and, thankfully, no one was there. It was gray and cold and damp, the river a gunmetal steel, a colorless color. The tide was going out, and I stood on the rocky shore relishing the fact that no one was there. Parks are swelling these days, and striper season is open, which makes the river even busier. I make sure to only go very early or very late. Otherwise, I stay home. Today, I appreciated the beautiful river birch bark peeling off and the honeysuckle bush dotted with drops of rain.


You don’t have to look very closely to see the pretty pom-pom like flowers of the spicebush. They will soon turn the understory into a blaze of chartreuse.

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I’m not quite sure what this pretty white flower growing out of a cluster of mossy rocks is. If you know, would you tell me?

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I love the trout lily leaves, which seem softly out of focus, true camouflage. It started raining more heavily as I went along. I didn’t quicken my pace though, instead I chose to move slowly in the cold rain, looking closely for small bits of green as I went.

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Did you see Field Goods now has a local delivery service? I am waiting on my first delivery. I think it’s probably a good idea to find new ways to fill your pantry for the long term. There are a lot of farms stepping up and offering great local products via online shopping and delivery services.

That said, it seems odd to me that farmers are not being offered payroll protections; this quote is from the Daily Freeman, taken from a conference call with Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan: “During the call, officials said religious organizations are eligible for the Small Business Administration’s Payroll Protection Program, but small nonprofit arts organizations and farmers are not.” (May be a pay wall, but I think all pandemic links are free.) This seems outrageous to me, but maybe I don’t know enough on the subject? [Update: I just got an email from Ulster CCE this morning saying that as of April 10, 2020 farms are eligible.]

Have you ever watched Pasta Grannies? I recently took the book out (hooray for online libraries!) and really enjoyed it. I’m working on my pasta skills, focusing on doughs made using just water and flour, not egg-based pasta. I don’t have any semolina, so have been using just all-purpose flour. That’s all to say that you can really deviate from what seems to be necessary to a recipe and still eat really well.



      1. Please do… it must be apart of the Dogwood family. It looks like a bush. Now, I m intrigued.

  1. I am glad you keep writing here, Jules, and sharing your walks and your thoughts with us. I think we have that delicate white flower here on the West Coast, too, but I don’t know what it is. Are your parks still open? Ours (municipal, county, state, federal) are all closed unless we can walk or bike there. I’m grateful every day that we live near enough to open space that we can walk there.

    I wasn’t able to see that link about the SBA program but, as someone whose husband runs a small arts nonprofit, I sure hope those officials were wrong. It doesn’t make any sense at all to exclude those two categories! The bank let him submit the application, so fingers here are crossed. Hope you and yours are safe and well. XO

    1. They are not closing any state parks or local preserves, although it seems to be causing a lot of problems, especially with the warmer weather. I sort of wish they would actually.

      I neglected to point at the Arts Organizations part of that SBA sentence, but yes, I’m wondering why those two are being singled out. It seems egregious!

      We are doing okay! Thanks, Shae. xo

  2. I too appreciate your thoughts and posts. Our open spaces are overwhelmed by new visitors too–half the time they are listening to their music or talking to each other and hardly noticing what they walk past. It is a challenging time to have faith in humans. So we must look to nature….thank you.

    1. Open spaces. It makes my heart ache to see many of our parks closing. I understand why only it still hurts. The Cubmaster for our local Cub Scout Pack, would, as a family, take them hiking once a week. With the schools being closed it became a special outing for them. Please continue to share your photos of your wonderful hikes. Thank you.

  3. I love your writing about your walks and thoughts. It is always a pleasure to read about how things are in New York state. I try to get out daily to walk but can’t always due to the high pollen count in my part of Maryland.

    And here, some parks are closed and others not. It varies. But we are in a shelter in place mode as well.

  4. I hope you keep writing here. I always enjoy your walks and words and pictures. We used to live upstate NY and your posts are very evocative of that lovely time (now on the Wales/England border). That flower may be cuckoo flower. Would need to have a look at the leaf though!

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