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.
"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."
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 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.
Previously in this series: