Greetings from the mid-West. My blog has stalled out in Lawrence, Kansas, captive to 5-month-old Fiona Meigs; incontestably the most adorable child ever. We are living with my son Ramsey and his family. The van sits silent on the street, except for odd trips to the local food co-op and wildlife refuge for walks. Otherwise we are deeply engaged in work and life and the appreciation of Fiona. We have joined the ranks of besotted grandparents, and it is a lovely feeling.

It is early spring here.. the daffodils and forsythia are just beginning. Ramsey is trying to figure out his backyard garden, which must endure their marauding dogs and very hot temperatures in the summer when he hopes to be on vacation. It is a puzzle I am familiar with. The dogs require fencing, but the family next door has a likely looking middle-schooler who could be engaged as a waterer or even a babysitter. She melts when she looks at Fiona over the fence, the force field of Covid barely containing her from reaching out and snatching the baby for a cuddle. It is a good sign. In fact, the neighborhood looks promising: all sorts of friendly professors current and emeritus live nearby in comfortable (and affordable) homes. Covid needs to get going so life can begin again here. Ramsey and Erin were here only a few months in their new home before they became Covid shut-ins like everyone else.

 

Lawrence is the home of Kansas University, the flagship university of the state: Big Humanities, Big Science, Big Football & Fraternities, and a congenial college town to support it. Think Ann Arbor, Michigan. Downtown is intact and perched to roar back after Covid.. there was a recent article in the New Yorker about the Raven Bookstore on Massachusetts Street, the lovely Main Street of Lawrence. Erin Seybold, my daughter in law snagged a joint position with the US Geological Survey and the KU Science Department as a researcher in hydrology. (We are awfully proud of her, though we had nothing to do with her excellent upbringing. We thank Nancy her mom for that.) Hence they live in Lawrence, not Overland Park, where Ramsey works for Met Life in a huge high rise on the prairie. Good choice, guys.

It has been rainy and mild here: spring weather. After two months in the west we have crossed back into a land of more plentiful water. It started about mid-Kansas. The rangeland and tumbleweeds are gone, the grasses and wetlands are back. Drought was an ever present menace on our travels: Oregon to California to Arizona to New Mexico. Dead trees, dried grasses, diverted siphoned-off rivers, no rains during the August monsoon season and the resulting fires: is this the new normal? If so, how will the vast tracts of new housing in the Las Vegas desert fare? How will the Sand Hill Cranes find enough water to make their migration? Will all the cottonwoods in the New Mexico Bosque die? What will happen to the wildlife? The resulting fires and extreme weather make me worried about the world our granddaughter will inherit. I know I am not alone.

Big News! We have been able to secure a vaccine appointment back in Boston. Time to head East again.

Thanks for reading,
Stay safe,

Julia

 

The dog and kid scene.                                        Fiona grasping the essentials of James’ research

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