A Journal of the Plague Year 2022–chapter 258

The shape of things to come.

Tuesday, March 15

I’m putting the snow shovel away in the basement. Along with it goes the ice-melting rock salt.

We’re back on Long Island, and while we have no crocuses or other blossoms in our yard yet, some early daffodils are showing up in other sunny places. The birds and squirrels are very amped up, sensing that something is afoot.

Two sure signs of spring: The appearance of little frogs, which many call “peepers,” in nearby marshes; and the return of the ospreys—large fish hawks that winter in South America. Neither one is here yet, but both should show up late this week or next week.

A platform for an osprey nest at Three Mile Harbor.

Each year, the ospreys, who nest on the tall platforms that humans have erected for them near the beaches, teach their young how to fly. The little guys (who, with their 70-inch wingspan, aren’t so little) pick up the skill pretty quickly. Mom and/or dad can be seen lazing around the nest as junior makes big circles in the sky above…all the while peeping in an unexpectedly high voice.

According to the Department of the Interior, the osprey is piscivorous, with fish making up 99% of its diet. But in a pinch, I suspect that they would eat Lay’s Potato Chips, just like any other self-respecting seabird. Once at the beach, we observed two other humans messing around with a kayak down at the water’s edge.   On their beach blanket lay an open bag of cheese puffs. A seagull wandered over, shook some goodies out of the bag, and began munching away—prompting one of the humans to shout “Hey, get away!” The seagull was undeterred: Last seen, he was winging across Three Mile Harbor with the entire bag clutched in his maw.

It’s difficult to stop eating those things once you start. 

Dinner: turkey meatloaf, southern corn pudding, and a green salad.

Entertainment: We listen a lot to BBC radio to hear the latest horrors from the war in Ukraine. The arms manufacturers must be loving it—while the rest of us are powerless to stop the conflict. Like in 1914, the big shots of all nations are delighted to have a war—it distracts the public from more troublesome matters like COVID, climate change, and racial injustice. As for our distraction, we will turn this evening to some more classic stuff from the streaming Criterion Channel—maybe Wim Wenders’ 1974 road flick Alice in the Cities.

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