Lesley Hazleton is an author, essayist, journalist, biographer, TED talker, and accidental theologist who lives in a houseboat on Lake Union.
Lesley Hazleton is an author, essayist, journalist, biographer, psychologist, and TED talker who lives in a houseboat on Lake Union. Courtesy of Lesley Hazleton

Good morning. It's April 4, a Saturday—not that days of the week matter anymore, what with Saturdays having become indistinguishable from Tuesdays. The world is still a mess, so we're still starting each day with these messages of hope.

Today's comes from the award-winning author Lesley Hazleton.

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"I'm here on my houseboat, waiting for the first batch of ducklings to hatch, the first of the year," says Lesley in her message. The ducklings she's referring to are wild—insofar as anything on Lake Union can be called wild.

"I'll know when they hatch because you can hear them going 'tweet tweet tweet,' just like the toy ducks in your bathtub, if you have them. And the moment I hear them I rush on out here to the deck to see them."

"Every year, and I've been here nearly 30 years, it's like it's the first batch of ducklings ever. You never get used to newborn ducklings. They're just magical," Lesley says.

She adds, "But this year, well, I'm waiting more eagerly than ever because now that I'm nearing 75, and thus among what I call the vulnerable venerables... it's all the more precious. And in my vulnerable venerability, I just wish I could give the most enormous hug to so many people in Seattle... To all of you out there who are making it possible for me to shelter in place, to self-isolate in here, I am simply humble with gratitude."

Lesley won a Stranger Genius Award in 2011.
Lesley won a Stranger Genius Award in 2011. Photo by Kelly O

If you are familiar with Lesley's name but can't remember why, it might be because of this brilliant essay for The Stranger published last summer.

Her work typically focuses on the intersection of religion, history, and politics. She reported on the Middle East from Jerusalem for more than a dozen years, and has written for Time, The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, Harper’s, The Nation, The New Republic, and elsewhere.

Her books include Agnostic: A Spirited Manifesto, a biography of Muhammad called The First Muslim, a book on the epic story of the Shia-Sunni split called After the Prophet, a book called Jezebel: The Untold Story of the Bible's Harlot Queen, and Mary: A Flesh-and-Blood Biography of the Virgin Mother.

She is also a brilliant public speaker, as her multiple TED talks demonstrate.

She also occasionally blogs here.

Thank you so much for your message, Lesley, and for reminding us of all the life that surrounds us, even when we're in isolation. Please record a follow-up message when those ducklings hatch!

If there is someone in your life whom you're still allowed to hug, go give them a hug, before you do anything else today.

And take it easy, everyone.

Happy Saturday.


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Previously in this series:


Bill Cartys message to the city on April 2.
Bill Carty's message to the city on April 2.

Price Suddarths message to the city on April 1.
Price Suddarth's message to the city on April 1.

Kary Waysons message to the city on March 31.
Kary Wayson's message to the city on March 31.

Ellen Forneys message to the city on March 30.
Ellen Forney's message to the city on March 30.

Major Scaless message to the city on March 29.
Major Scales's message to the city on March 29.

E. J. Kohs message to the city on March 28.
E. J. Koh's message to the city on March 28.

Ken Jenningss message to the city on March 27.
Ken Jennings's message to the city on March 27.

Demarre McGills message to the city on March 26.
Demarre McGill's message to the city on March 26.

Lynn Sheltons Message to the City on March 25th.
Lynn Shelton's Message to the City on March 25th.

Timothy White Eagles message to the city on March 24.
Timothy White Eagle's message to the city on March 24.

Cookie Coutures message to the city on March 23.
Cookie Couture's message to the city on March 23.

Sarah Rudinoffs message to the city on March 22.
Sarah Rudinoff's message to the city on March 22.

John Osebolds message to the city on March 21.
John Osebold's message to the city on March 21.


Ben Gibbards message to the city on March 21.
Ben Gibbard's message to the city on March 20.

Nathan Chans message to the city on March 19.
Nathan Chan's message to the city on March 19.