You don’t need me to remind you that being stuck in an airport for over 6 hours is not a desirable way to spend a day, but I’m here to tell you anyway. I’ve been in Portland, Maine for the past two days; instead of flying out as planned, thunderstorms kept us from leaving. I waited patiently as they cancelled flights, one by one, to nearby destinations. The blinking notice board at my gate kept refreshing: 30 minutes late, one hour late, two, two and a half, back to one, back to two, and so on. At each update, I clutched my crumpled boarding pass, debating whether to cut my losses and at least make something of the day. The flight attendants swore our flight would leave, and promising signs kept happening (bags loading, an order for jet fuel placed, pilots entering the cockpit). Finally—nearly 7 hours after I got to the airport—we started boarding, only to see the sign at the gate suddenly flash with red CANCELLED letters halfway through zone 1 boarding.
When we were little, we used to go to Nantucket to stay with my grandparents in the summer. I remember some details so vividly: the smell of the salt water, the tangle of low blueberry bushes edging the sandy driveway, the sticky feeling on my fingers after eating bags of penny candy from the fudge shop.
On bright Nantucket mornings, we'd pack up for a day of swimming. That, too, I remember in flashes: the beach was hot, the sand baked under the midday sun. My bare feet would burn as we'd walk to stake out a spot and settle down, beach chairs and towels and plastic buckets and all. Then my sisters (and cousins and parents and aunts and uncles and whatever family friends were there that week, too) and I would energetically and enthusiastically throw ourselves into the business of beach-going: swimming and building sand castles and boogie-boarding.
Tonight is the sort of evening that reminds me why New York isn't always wretched in the summer. Most of the weeks between June and August are spent in a perpetual sweat, the air hot and sticky, the city smelling ripe and crowded. Every place that might be verdant and cool and breezy (Central Park, the Hudson River piers, ferries, the Frying Pan bar on a docked boat in Chelsea) is overrun with people, people, people! It's no wonder that everyone decamps to the beach the moment they can catch an LIRR train out. Come Friday afternoon, it feels like the entire population of the city is crammed into vinyl seats on the eastbound trains, drinking beers and checking their phones, until the crowd thins as everyone gets off at Southampton, East Hampton, Montauk...and so on.
Today was a nicer-than-usual Monday. As someone who works from home, I don't quite get the Sunday night doom as office-goers do, but still a fog of oh-this-again usually hangs over the start of the work week. But today was good: a cloudy, drizzly morning gave way to a sparkling gem of an afternoon. Warm and sunny and worthy of an outdoor lunch on the terrace with a good book.
Some nights, the subtle alchemy of cooking blows me away. It never ceases to amaze me that a handful of ingredients—humble and cheap—can be transformed and spun into endless, interesting, delicious variations. Cooking will probably always do that for me; it gives me a "this came from this?!" feeling at the end, even though I was right there performing each step.
Well look at that, it's been over 2 months since I've sat down to write something here. If it's any consolation, I've thought about lots of things that I wanted to tell you but really life just hopped in the way each time I planned to sit down and start.
Today has been a simple day filled with a lot of little bright moments and small pleasures. I woke up in the dark and blearily made my way to the 7 AM yoga class (*no applause please, oh...okay...go on then!*). When I emerged, sweaty and feeling that happy blend of mental calm and the rush of endorphins, the sky was a bright blue. It's windy and chilly out today, but if you find a patch of sunshine, you can almost taste spring in the air.
I've heard this advice about tackling hard things: pick the thing on your to-do list that you want to do least and just do it! Once you've scratched it off, the rest of the list feels easier, like coasting downhill slowly, as you tick down the items. You feel empowered by having accomplished that first unpleasant bit.
Fun fact: Sometimes you can't do the thing you want to do least for the obvious reason that you DON'T WANT TO DO IT. But that's okay. You try again the next day. Like those wretchedly long papers you had to write in college, somehow it gets accomplished!
I'm out at our house this weekend, happily breathing in the sea air and stopping at all the beaches around town, watching the water change color with the hour. There's something specifically wonderful about the ocean in winter weather. It's mercurial and capricious, swinging quickly from a calm and brilliant turquoise to a sullen navy blue, the surface swirled by cold winds and pelted with ice.
The weather outside is messy. Ferocious winds are whipping through the city, pelting the windows with tiny bits of hail. All day it has alternated between wet flakes of snow and icy rain. Once dusk fell, walking around was miserably cold, each block feeling like a marathon. Just one more block, I told myself, as I trudged home through the windy streets. Now one more, I encouraged, not long now!