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Still Growing in Brooklyn

Today, for the first time in 12 months, I went to my local library, which only reopened last week. It’s the branch featured in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, and I love it so much that I’ve run a free cinema club in its basement for local retirees. (Lots of Fred and Ginger.) The setup is still bare bones–you can only return books and pick up ones that you’ve reserved in advance–but just stepping into its atrium was so joyful that I burst into tears as soon as I sniffed its familiar scent of paste and paper. “Our favorite patron returns!” sang one librarian as I took a masked bow. But besides bragging about my library celeb status (arguably the highest status of them all), the reason I am sharing this story is because I wanted to confess I pulled a total Grace Paley. Which is to say: dropped off Reckless Daughter, David Yaffe’s biography of Joni Michell–and then immediately checked it back out. Apparently a year is not long enough to absorb the beautiful mystery that is Joni. Hello, my life.

The Church of Mother Mary’s Orphans

For the last four days I’ve been terribly sad for reasons I don’t yet wish to put into general print. (Save it for the book, save it for the book.) Yesterday I didn’t go outside once but instead watched movies and also the wall. Gracie helped, she always helps, and eventually I managed to clean my house, also myself. But the sadness never abated, nor did my desire to avoid everyone.

Not great when you make your living translating people back to themselves.

Daylight savings made me happy, though—put me back in step with the human race. Waking at 5am today meant I really woke at 6am—only had to wait a few hours for the rest of the world to catch up. It was a welcome transition, this springing forward. During autumn and winter, by the time everyone else begins to stir, I’ve moved into the mental malaise of mid-morning–fed, caffeinated, overwhelmed–

Today I was first in line at the bakery, ready for croissant and bread to freeze for the rest of the week. The sun was bright and promising. Cool enough to merit the armor of winterwear, warm enough to merit sneakers unhindered by socks.

The goldilocks of March weather, what ho.

Into my earbuds I put an audiobook of Anne of Green Gables, that patron saint of hopeful orphans, and set off on a new route with new Mary statues studding new people’s stoops. Each time I encountered the Blessed Mother I heard her sing: You are a beloved child of the universe, loved in every shade.

She sings it to each of us, and means it all the time.

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy