The succession of cloudy days is stuffing my brain with cotton. I walk under the moist, flat sky feeling closed in a jar, like an insect my boys have caught for further examination, and the holes punched in the lid just aren’t quite enough. Words and ideas come slowly, if at all, through the dirty, white murk, and they arrive muffled, blunted, sucked of color. It’s hard enough to think under these circumstances, let alone write.
On days like these I lose myself in the pages of field guides, focusing on something concrete and defined, searching for a name, a drawing, of a tree I noticed or a flower I’ve seen. It should be a simple task. The leaves: how many, are they toothed, sessile, whorled, alternate? The flowers: how many petals, are they regular, in umbels, rayed? Colors, too, should matter, they should help, but they can mislead, and incomplete memories trip me up. I take pictures to help, sometimes I press samples, once or twice I’ve even tasted the plants I’m researching.
It’s all because of this trash-collecting. I’m looking down so much, I can’t help but notice what else is on the ground, and wonder. What is this thorny plant that has shredded this plastic bag? What is that huge plant covering that bottle? Wait, that’s kind of pretty! But it’s just one more thing I really shouldn’t be doing when I have so many other things that I must do.
Concentrate, girl, concentrate!