I don't know if this is really a Quarantine Journal or a new normal journal. We're a long way in from what we used to think of as normal, though, so even though the shelter at home order is lifted, it feels like I'm still largely in quarantine from the virus if not the government.
My new garden, which has been giving me herbs, is now also giving me gardenias, and I could not be more delighted. They smell divine. One good friend has brought them to me before from her bush, and I've wanted one ever since. Our little midtown nursery is open air shopping, so I got there first thing a month or so ago. I also have my first hydrangea blossoms. It's been a joy to reclaim a bit of my messy yard for beauty.
I had lunch on the back porch today and watched a dove building her nest. With every beak full of straw, she stopped to perch on the fence across from me before she took it on to the nest. I finally got my sketching things and managed to draw her over several trips. After the Cardinal tragedy (though I'm happy to say they're still whizzing around the yard and seem to be mating again!), it's happy to see another nest being built. This one is quite high, so I'll have to just watch from a distance, but it's a joy. I've never watched birds the way I have this year. I feel like I'm turning into my grandmother, and it's really given me a lot of quiet happiness in the midst of the chaos.
Martha Kelly is an artist and illustrator who lives and works in Memphis, Tennessee.
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