April 1st, 2015

The Red Tree

"And Doctor Bliss slipped me a Preparation..."

We're back in Providence. We made it in about 7:30 last night. We got Italian takeout, then, despairing at the state of this house, lay in front of the television watching The West Wing until 2 a.m. (= 4 episodes). Toby and CJ always help a little. Currently, it's sunny and 39˚F (on April 1st), and we may reach 48˚F today (on April 1st). Accuweather predicts that our first day above 70˚F will be May 8th. Which, I think, is about the same as last year. I know we were well into May before there was any significant greening. I have considered another round of Stale Hell photos.

The last cold spring I'll have to endure. The last spring I'll lose. All told, beginning on December 5, we spent a total of eighty-three nights in the cabin at Woodstock, the end of the autumn and most of the winter and the very beginning of cold spring. (I should note that, of course, we were here for the very end of December and the first three weeks of January, so our time there was divided into two halves.) I cannot even imagine having made it through that awful block of days here. In Providence, almost all the snow has melted, but, Jesus, it's desolate. How I have survived this place for seven years, I don't know. But I have, and I should try to take some measure of pride in that.


I'm watching Super-Typhoon Maysak bearing down on the Philippines. This is a Category 5 hurricane, a Katrina, poised to strike land that is barely above an already swiftly rising sea level. From space, the thing is awesome, awful, beautiful, but it's a hungry monster with a lot of people in its path.


While in Woodstock (A Review):

I wrote "The Cripple and the Starfish," "The Aubergine Alphabet," wrote Part Four and rewrote Part Three of Alabaster: The Good, the Bad, and the Bird*, and I began the screenplay I'm writing. I lost Joëlle Jones and found Danielle Warren Johnson. I worked with Centipede Press on Houses Under the Sea: Mythos Tales and with PS Publishing on the second edition of A is for Alien. We did three jigsaw puzzles and played four games of Scrabble. I read Peter Matthiessen's Shadow Country (2008) and reread Peter Straub's Ghost Story (1979). We went to Manhattan, and I did my fourth reading at KGB since 2001. On the train, I passed so near to Pollepel Island I felt as if I could have reached out and touched it. I read one non-fiction book, on the Gilboa fossils, and I read numerous paleontological papers. I regret I got out of the cabin as little as I did, but the weather was often dangerously cold, the snow was too deep to walk in, and the roads were bad. Plus, I smashed my left big toe on February 6th, probably breaking it (I don't know for sure; I haven't been to the doctor, and there was already a lot of numbness there). Then a rotten premolar I'd nursed for over a year exploded, and readers kindly donated over two-thousand dollars in less that twenty-four hours, making it possible for me to have a root canal and get a crown. We sat and watched the birds (I will be posting a checklist of species we saw in Catskills in another entry). Spooky took Hubero on many long walks in the woods, because he's the cat who loves a harness and leash. We wasted a lot less time on gaming than we would have had we been in Providence, Kathryn on Guild Wars 2 and me on The Secret World. Compared to last winter, it was a breeze, even when you factor in the subzero night the wendigo knocked out the electricity and made it impossible for us to build a fire.

That's likely leaving a lot out.

Yesterday, as we were loading the car, Neil appeared outside in a housecoat and slippers, as if the day weren't cold as hell, and we said our goodbyes and our "we'll see you next weeks," because we will. I have to be back on the 8th for the permanent crown, so we're heading up on the 7th. I've tried to tell him how grateful I am for the loan of the cabin this winter, but I'm not entirely sure he understands.

Now, I only have to survive cold spring.

I have a few photos from yesterday, behind the cut:

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On the way home, I read two papers on trilobites, "Nightmare on Resser Street – Dealing with Resser's trilobite taxonomy" and "The earliest trilobite research (Antiquity to the 1820s)." Back home, I discovered the January 2015 Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology had, in my absence, arrived, and I read a paper I'd been eagerly awaiting, "A new pistosauroid (Reptilia, Sauropterygia) from the late Ladinian Xingyi marine reptile level, southwestern China." There was also a package containing my contributor's copies of New Cthulhu 2: More Recent Weird, which contains my story "The Transition of Elizabeth Haskings"; I have to confess, I find the cover atrocious. Cthulhu as a Jack Kirby super-villain.

Aunt Beast