Friday, April 15, 2011

The really great outdoors

After dashing off last week's missive on the subject of my modified reading habits, I came across this insightful, finely written book review that addresses the question of why we read literature. (Spoiler alert, the answer is an incisive, if rhetorical, second question: why live?)

Besides read, I do a couple of other things when I’m pinned to the rocking chair all day. My second diversion, after novel-reading, involves furtively probing the Internet -- on my precariously positioned laptop -- for a) Facebook activity, b) answers to my family’s embarrassing medical questions (thanks, Dr. Internet!), c) mommy blogs, and d) geographically convenient Cragislist bargains. And furthermore, e) whatever strikes my fancy at 2:30 in the morning with a sleeping baby in my lap. But why "furtively"? Well, you know… somehow, checking my Gmail, looking at patterns on Ravelry,* and blogging just don’t seem like things a mother cradling her peacefully dozing baby should really be fiddling with in the wee small hours. I know, that’s ridiculous; mothers need and want to do stuff other than/while breastfeeding their babies. I mean, obviously. But I guess I feel a bit delinquent because I always have the unshakable impression that it’s supposed to be totally Mary Cassatt-y up in here -- nothing but sweet, quiet, peaceful moments of gazing at my little one’s cherubic sleeping face,** surrounded by beautiful fabrics inspired by nineteenth-century Japanese pattern design. Instead, I’m all trolling eBay for Halloween costumes. 

Away from the rocking chair, Bee and I have been spending considerably more time outside lately -- a colossal improvement over the gloomy, winter-long situation of affairs to which we have been accustomed here in the frozen north. Where we live, you know, winter really does freeze your soul, just a bit. But the snow has mostly melted and the grasses and flowers of Minnesota are beginning to wake up. Temperatures have risen enough that one can take an infant outdoors without imperiling its life! If that celebratory statement doesn’t deserve an exclamation point, I don’t know what does! So, yes, Bee and I have been tramping around town on little errands, taking long-ish walks on the campus of a certain liberal arts college, and even embarking on High Adventure at the public library’s storytime for babies. (It involves more singing, crying, and curbed pandemonium than actual stories, but it’s fun. Come to think of it, storytime deserves a post all to itself, and a post all to itself it shall have, Dear Reader.)

So, to sum up: we go outside now. Thanks to the Björn, in fact, the baby and I have walked our town's sidewalks so doggedly that Bee could probably find her way home on her own at this point. But, I promise, I am still reading with a fierceness and vigor, because even in springtime there are books, and hours in the rocking chair, and middle-of-the-night awakeness. The difficult things, like NEVER SLEEPING, become a little easier in April. They just do! But Ben and I are still tired. The emerging tulips and the bunnies and the chirping birds haven't totally moderated our exhaustion. Not yet. Maybe in May.

* If you don’t know what Ravelry is, and you’re a knitter, you should probably get your ass over there. Me, I’ve basically accepted Ravelry as my personal lord and savior.
** Not sarcasm. Bee does actually have what we consider an unmistakably cherubic face, all roses and crème fraiche. You could just kiss it forever! Mwah mwah mwah mwah mwah!


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