Winter’s Arrival, and the Promise of Spring

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Winter’s Arrival, and the Promise of Spring

Welcome. I received a package in the mail yesterday containing a 4 pound bag of deluxe birdseed. No receipt, no note, a simple brown box with just a sack of sunflower and safflower mixture. I thought it must have come from my friend Kate Wong, a science writer who recently started bird watching. I’m looking forward to her Instagram, where she records her new hobby at home, a hobby that finds meaning and joy in the changing seasons in nine months and only counts limited human contact. But Kate didn’t broadcast it.

Receiving a box of birdseed of unknown origin made me think not only that I should get a bird feeder to house it (and certainly should attract rock pigeons and other Brooklyn species), but also the promise of spring even if winter is in Northeast Seems With the intent of announcing its arrival, the thermometer is barely peeking past 40 this week, another reason we feel most secure at home.

Still, gardening columnist Margaret Roach announced in her most recent column that the 2021 gardening season “officially begins this month,” with the arrival of the seed catalogs for next year. More than one person reminded me this week that the winter solstice is only two weeks away, after which each day is getting a little bit longer. I like to think that after December 21st we are officially on our way out of the forest and not into the forest.

Until then, we’re mostly inside when we can, with vacation movies, holiday cooking, holiday theater, and holiday cards designed by artists filling in the lessons. We wear our hangaround bangarounds, cozy clothes that serve as work clothes, casual clothes and even workout clothes with strategically repositioned accessories. Some At Home readers told us they wear all over the house.

  • “A modest top and my invisible bike shorts. Wearing workout clothes means an 80 percent commitment to exercise when the zooming is done. “

  • “I grew up at the age of 78.5 and worked at a time when the popular saying ‘clothes make you man’ was popular. As a (rare) corporate woman, this also applied to us at the time. Fast forward to today, when it looks like women have adopted underwear for working life – tights were something my generation wore under skirts and boots – I have no idea what appropriate daily attire is appropriate. But who cares then? I do. I wear chinos and shirts or turtlenecks and sweaters and blazers. And I wear saddle oxfords (yes, they still do them, only better). I zoom a lot with friends, family, and charities, and I’m fully clothed because it makes me feel alive and connected and solid and serious and focused. “

  • “I’m currently wearing a blanket as a skirt.”

  • “It all started one day when I stole my wife’s yoga pants when all of my sweatpants were in the wash. I tried them on and got hooked. I never looked back. They’re more comfortable and feel better than sweatpants. I’m in an office job and I have Zoom meetings all day, so I usually wear them with a button-down shirt. “

  • “I’m a senior in high school and we learn 100 percent virtually. Most of the kids in my classes now just turn off their cameras and lie in bed during class. When I’m in classes or club meetings and I really need to show my face, I wear cozy pants and a nice sweater, but sometimes I wear pajamas! “

  • “It is important to me to always dress casually. Otherwise I tend to slack off. I also encourage my child to wear non-pajama clothing when they are out of the way. This is the only way we can distinguish whether we are at school, at work or lounging around the house. “

I will keep you updated when I find out where the bird seed is from. A cunning and hopeful dove reading this newsletter is unlikely to have its talons on an Amazon account and credit card, but hey, it’s a year of unprecedented innovation, isn’t it?

If you like a real puzzle, don’t miss this article in Outside about a man who solved a decades-long treasure hunt to see himself the target of a lawsuit. (It reminded me of one of my favorite childhood books, Kit Williams’ “Masquerade,” which also provoked a competitive hunt for buried prey.) Or stream “I Will Be Murdered,” a documentary about Guatemalan lawyer Rodrigo Rosenberg who predicted his own death in 2009. (The story was the subject of a phenomenal New York play by David Grann in 2011).

Something in your head An unsolved mystery that you need help with? Write to us: athome@nytimes.com. Were at home. We will read every letter. See below for more ideas for a good life at home and around.

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