Wanted to share my latest piece with you all! My dear friend Sarah approached me last month to commission this painting of an American white ibis (Eudocimus albus). She’s from Miami, and wanted a painting of this bird that feels so emblematic of home. Have you been to Florida? There are so many beautiful stilt-legged […]
There is an old building near where I live in northeast Washington, DC, where something is terribly wrong. Or rather, it’s not that anything is wrong or evil there. Things have simply drifted out of balance.
I have found aphids on the tomatoes and the kale, like fat microscopic green sheep, slowly sucking the leaves dry; cabbage worms on everything, eating beautiful laminated holes out of the greenery; I have found mealybugs, white and fluffy like little clouds or downy feathers; and one long-limbed brown spider, elegant and stretched out as if drawn in two strokes with a sumi-e brush, who might have been the one that bit me the other day.
When I wake up it is into what feels like another dream. That’s why. Being awake is not so different from sleeping. Today marks four weeks from the day we decided to stop leaving the house. Shortly thereafter the city caught up to our decision; all nonessential business closed, and people were ordered to shelter in place. Because nothing changed for us when this order was made, I didn’t fully comprehend it until last night: That even if we wanted to go out to a bookstore wearing masks, there are no bookstores. There are no record shops or jingling doors to walk through or bars with beers on draft. Everything is closed. DC is a ghost town now. No one leaves their homes. The entire city is dreaming, just like me.
The birds are comforting because, like I said, they truly don’t care about this. They don’t know what’s happening. It’s springtime. A week ago, I watched a gumdrop-red male cardinal feed his tan-colored girlfriend mouth to mouth like kissing, in my driveway. A week ago I watched a crow gather stripped tree bark for a nest. Seasonal migrants are crossing through my DC neighborhood on their way northwards. They will only be here for a few weeks. They aren’t mammals, the coronavirus won’t hurt them. They aren’t humans; they haven’t heard about this. Thank god.
Above you is gray infinity, below you thousands of feet of empty black nothingness. Cold water, in which gargantuans swim like untold secrets. Every now and then they break the surface with knife-like black fins, release sighing breath that echoes off the mountains and back to your ears; underneath you, they call to each other with voices like violins. But mostly, waterbird, there is nothing for you but silence.
“Corvids have always written collective dot-dash sky-code. They are past scornfully enjoying the obliviousness of human observers. They no longer shape out rude slogans or rococo aerial slanders. No provocation ever provoked. There is a mournful air to their more recent, equally unread, messages.” – China Miéville
It’s a little weird that the world should keep turning; and my dear friends will maintain their own unique mental illnesses without such a man to write lyrically about them, in particular, unto them; and that his peculiar speech impediment–the lipped swallowing of R’s into W’s–will no longer exist from that mouth. He was a […]