This post is part of my 2022 Word Project. You can read what that’s about here.
Monday, February 21, 2022
Random thought for the day, now that I’m doing a word project within a word project: I wonder what would happen if I shredded some carrots into the oat bran muffins?
Today’s word came to me before I went to sleep last night, but since that was after midnight, it still counts as today. I had quite a bit of fun being completely random yesterday, thinking about things I hadn’t in a long time. So much, that whether it entertains anyone but me, I am going to play off the idea and talk about something random today but in a more directed way.
Today, as Monday acts Mondayish and it’s still not April, I want to reflect on a few of my favorite things.
I hate when people ask questions like what’s your favorite book or your favorite restaurant or your favorite anything, because there are too many things to choose one. But that’s exactly the question I’m asking myself today, even if I don’t plan to answer it, even if I’m just going to use a lot of words to talk about things that are one of my favorites, depending on which favorite edges another out because of moods and circumstances and the alignment of Jupiter and such.
Jupiter is one of my favorite planets. Mostly because it’s super interesting with it’s whole “storm the size of the earth” thing, which is always hard to wrap my head around, but also because it’s beautiful and the word has a nice ring to it. I like J words. Something about the sound of J is very soothing.
Lots of people say Pluto is their favorite planet, but I suspect that is mostly about good marketing. Also Pluto is not a planet, so there goes an entire generation’s answer to the question of planets.
I probably should say Earth is my favorite planet, since it’s the one that has the pretty flowers and the clouds that won’t kill you with poison gas, but that’s obvious. Besides, I said one of my favorites.
Another thing that is occasionally on my list of favorite things: silence.
That is my way of not saying how much I hate the incessant sound of beeping trucks and crashing construction going on around here. Some days it is 100% impossible to get a moment’s peace. The closest I can come is closing myself in the bedroom closet, which is the thing farthest from a window or outside wall. It’s true that I have occasionally taken my pillow and gone to sleep on the floor in there.
Silence is a beautiful thing. Maybe the sound of birds, maybe a little wind.
Birds are absolutely one of my favorite things. My mother haaaaaates birds, mostly because they did a lot of pooping on her throughout her life. She has a point though, because I can very specifically remember incidents where we’d be out as a family and a bird would poop and it would land directly on her head, and nobody else’s.
So I grew up in a household that had no fond affection for them. But I find them fascinating. Especially pigeons. A lot of people, especially the kind in cities, hate pigeons. A few romantics feed them, but most people ignore them at best. Lots of people put spikes on every flat surface from window ledges to store roofs to keep them from perching or nesting there.
We stayed at the Washington Square Hotel in New York once, and besides being ancient – I mean, historic – everything is unnervingly tiny. The elevators (and you know how I feel about those) will barely fit you plus a suitcase. The hallways are narrow enough that you can walk down them and touch both walls by holding your arms out. The windows are tiny, and outside of them, on the ledges outside of them, are forests of spikes so the birds don’t sit there.
On top of being tiny and claustrophobic, for someone like me, those spikes are the final straw.
I can see the point, I mean you don’t want bird poop everywhere. But that doesn’t stop them from being unpleasant and creepy.
If birds are one of my favorite things, then pigeons are one of my favorite birds.
I sometimes think that the reason I still can’t find my way to the grocery store after three years of living here is that pigeons sucked up all the navigational ability in the universe that was supposed to be mine. You can bag, drag, and transport these birds forever away from their homes and somehow they will still find their way back. How charming is that?
World Wars were won or lost on the backs of pigeons. They’ve rescued people at sea from shipwrecks, they can recognize themselves in a mirror, and they can even recognize and remember you.
And as an aside, the only reason pigeon poop is the giant problem it is, is because humans keep throwing them breadcrumbs and bagels and pizza crust. You try eating nothing but processed carbs for a few weeks and see what happens to you.
I’ve read entire books about pigeons and would read more if I could find them.
I mean, for the coolness factor you can’t beat a blue heron staking out a pond, or a flamingo standing on one foot. But pigeons have heart and soul.
Lunch break. One of my favorite things to eat for lunch is quiche.
By the way, the noise? Still going on.
When it gets like this I have to put on my noise cancelling headphones, which cancel a lot but not that, and play some music loud enough to block it out. A few of my favorite musicians and bands: Neil Diamond. Abba. I feel like those are obvious, but I could listen to them and sing all day. It’s really hard to be pissed about smashing beeping trucks when Dancing Queen is in your ears.
Some of my favorite childhood memories orbit Neil Diamond. My father used to listen to him all the time on 8-track. I imagine anyone reading this is old enough to remember those. More than listen, he would sing. And more than that, he would dance. And more than that, whenever Brother Love’s Travelling Salvation Show came on, he would swing one of the twothreefourfivesix of us onto his shoulders and dance around the house for the entire duration of the song.
It was a slow quiet dance at first, then it got a little bigger, and a little bigger, until the chorus exploded into Love, Brother Love, at which point he would explode across the room bouncing a kid on his shoulders and waving four hands in the air.
It’s one of the most joyful things I can remember. The last time he did it, it was with his grandson and I caught most of it on video. What a treasure.
I can’t pick out a favorite song, though that one has to be at the top of the list.
Some of my favorite things: potatoes. red. cats. summer. being outside. being outside in the summer. pignoli cookies. glass jars. walking along the shore picking up seashells. cooking all day on a Saturday. thunderstorms. jeans. learning something new. words.
Favorite time of day: evening.
When everything is done and all that’s left is dinner and maybe a glass of wine or a cup of tea and a book and nothing to do that doesn’t involve the couch or my rocker on the porch.
Favorite dinner: pretty much anything with homemade bread.
Favorite closing sentence from one of my favorite books of all time:
But wherever they go, and whatever happens to them on the way, in that enchanted place on the top of the Forest a little boy and his Bear will always be playing.
Photo: a baby bird that fell out of its nest onto the porch at an Airbnb we stayed at here in Franklin before we moved here. It was a successful rescue mission.