Time and its passing have become even more strange and amorphous than they are in the best of circumstances. It was only just the middle of winter and somehow we find ourselves nearly to the middle of May. I have a brand-new baby who smiles up at me. Her toes are stretching the feet of some of her pajamas and others no longer snap. My older kids have had their first pink noses of the season. They’re asking for sandals to catch up with their growing feet.
The trees outside our apartment window have leaves now of a middling size and with their arrival, the light in our apartment has started to take on the greenish hue of spring and summer. In the morning, sunlight pierces our pillowcases.
On street corners and tucked into postage-stamp yards the cherry blossoms have finished and lilacs are in their full glory. There’s wisteria taking over the banisters on neighbors’ stoops—unruly jumbles of pale green and light purple with an intoxicating scent that hits you only after you’ve already passed it. Red buds are starting to shed their bright purple petals, casting them in circles on the street. They’re a welcome distraction from the nitrile gloves that litter the Brooklyn sidewalks.
James waits in socially distanced lines at the farmers’ market so we can eat like a family of rabbits, ecstatic over butter lettuces and tiny shoots of arugula. We’ve become hoarders of tender greens.
In other Mays, I’ve photographed and written about the process of making rhubarb syrup and cobbler and spritzers with lilac. I’ve fussed with photographing noncompliant floral ice cubes and cooed over keeping lilac stems fresh.
Now, there’s hardly the time to drink a cup of coffee before it cools. My inbox has run amok. Minutes are fractured by a dozen competing demands. Work takes double the time to complete and ends up making half the amount of sense.
Still, against terrible odds there are tiny triumphs and miraculous minutes. There are texts reporting a move out of intensive care and a path to recovery. There are bright red stalks of inedible rhubarb turned into a jar of perfectly tart jam.