Thursday, April 11, 2013

Redwings of my heart

In California, I had to drive out to marshy places to hear their incessant and raucous spring calling. I never thought I'd have them in my back yard! But here they are on the 20th of January! (See the frost on the willow branches?)
Now in early April this willow is finally budding out. The redwings have been here ever since. They have decided that since they are bigger than the house finches, sparrows, and juncos that their mission should be to drive away others from the birdfeeder. So they do, spilling an immense amount of seeds on the patio, through violent swinging of the feeder. This makes the wood ducks and the mourning doves very happy, and even pleases some quail.

On the literary front, having both finished Middlemarch we treated ourselves tonight to two more episodes of the old British miniseries via the magic of Netflix. We saw two of them earlier and then decided to defer; there are two to go. One strange thing, I thought I had formed my mental picture of the characters on the first two episodes. Now I find that I had modified them quite a bit. Their hair is the same color and I recognized them;  they were either prettier, younger, sweeter-looking or somehow quite different from the actors, due to the mental work of reading about them. And of course, the very greatest loss of all is the wit and the sapience of the authorial voice. To me, this was definitely the greatest pleasure of reading this book. I cannot care too much at this point about Nineteenth Century Reform, the corn laws, the quasi-serfdom of farm laborers, and unspeakably rigid societal mores. But the author's sharp remarks as she generalizes on how some particular event represents an illustration of some societal pattern she has seen before are right on! I mean RIGHT ON!
In the Big Book, otherwise known as the Frederick Karl biography of George Eliot (which I am just now almost halfway through, due to having been distracted by other books!) she has just published her first fiction with some success, but nobody yet knows who or what gender she is yet. Every time I pick up this book, we both think of Tolstoy (another long read!) because of the picture of the author on the back which features his long gray beard. I imagine that if you have finished this much research you might not have been able to shave for along, long time. It is an excellent biography, thorough, well-reasoned and compassionate.Good night, may all your birds be pleasing and all your TV soothe!
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