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Category: small comforts

On the necessity of art

On the necessity of art

If the orders to isolate ourselves in our homes have shown us anything in the last few months, it is that human beings turn instinctively to the arts when we feel things deeply. Isolation, depression, and abiding worry cannot go undocumented; our psyches demand both that we express great pain and that we build for ourselves modes of coping that will help us feel less alone. Reading novels and watching dancers and looking at paintings produces pleasure in a world…

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Sidewalk poetry

Sidewalk poetry

The city of Saint Paul has stamped poetry into its sidewalks. Scattered throughout neighborhoods in a wide swathe between the capitol and the Mississippi River, the poems turn up sporadically enough that they always feel like surprise gifts underfoot. Each is brief enough to fit into a single sidewalk panel. I have seen dozens of them in the last five years. Some are little riddles, and some offer quiet introspection, and some are just flashes of an image. I cannot…

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Units of measure

Units of measure

Currently the wind is buffeting and whistling around my house, making sounds you would think were unrealistically produced by a special effects department if you heard them in a movie. Rushes and puffs, sustained thin sounds, drawn-out breaths that slowly crescendo, howls, stuttering shhhh-shhhh-shhhhs, weird gusts that can only be described as swirls. I am sitting in my teensy home office on the second floor. It has two windows, one of which looks out over the small roof peak that…

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Traffic Patterns

Traffic Patterns

Sunday, I am out for a walk with a friend and her dog (keeping appropriate social distance on the sidewalk). Nature here is all brown — bare tree branches, last year’s grass dull and matted in every yard, autumn’s leaves plastered wetly along curbs and in flowerbeds. The world sits in that monochrome state between winter and spring, when everything has melted but nothing is quickening. Limbo. As if seasons have been put on pause. And then, it starts to…

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On Sourdough

On Sourdough

Let’s talk about sourdough doughnuts for a minute. I don’t actually know the first thing about them. Or rather, I didn’t really think about them one way or the other, until yesterday–when a confluence of several delightful things suddenly made me realize that I should be thinking about them, had been remiss in not considering them, and in fact, ought to be doing more research about them post haste. Delightful thing 1 is that I have been given my very…

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