This week I don’t have a staff pick for you as such, but I thought I’d still check in and let you know where my head is at. One reason I don’t have a staff pick is because I’ve been so busy with Sorry State stuff I have had little time to do anything but work. With the new Scalple, Lasso, and Cochonne releases keeping us busy, plenty of new distro stock coming in, and coordinating upcoming projects and the day to day work around here, I’ve been left with very little of what feels like my own time. While I feel overwhelmed, I’ve been working to keep myself from getting stressed out, spending a little time each morning prioritizing what I need to do each day and trying not to beat myself up if I don’t get to every single thing I planned to. That’s always a struggle as this type of self-imposed pressure is often the fuel that powers me to run that extra mile, but I think I’m doing OK.
One thing I made time for this week is getting outdoors. Here in North Carolina, the weather is unbearably hot between June and September, and everyone is too hot-natured to get outside much once the weather cools from November to March. That leaves a brief window in spring and fall when you try to get outdoors as much as possible. I can’t imagine living somewhere like Southern California or Italy where the weather is pleasant all year long… it seems like everyone would just waste the days away, confident there’s another one that’s just as good coming a few hours later.
I try to walk a few miles each day, usually on the trail by my house. I walk down the hill to the Neuse River, where the trail winds along the fast-moving river, crosses a bridge over Crabtree Creek, then empties into a park, Anderson Point, with a pleasant mix of manicured and wild spaces. I have a bunch of favorite spots along the trail. Of course, the bridge is a highlight. While the sight lines aren’t great (the thick steel railings are chin-high), if you stand on your toes or climb up a little, you can see a long stretch of river, and when the water is clear enough (maybe 50% of the time), you can see lots of fish. Sometimes I see a big creature—I think it’s a river gar—that’s 6 or 8 feet long. There’s also the beaver damn, which walls off an area that can be a large pond or bone dry depending on how much rain we’ve had, and the wildflower areas in the park, which attract an extraordinary number of butterflies, dragonflies, and other insects.
Usually I listen to music on large, over-the-ear headphones when I’m taking my walks, but lately I’ve been carrying the headphones more than wearing them. They’re hot, which inhibits my enjoyment of the weather. Sometimes I’ll go months without taking them off, and whenever I remove them for the first time in a while, I’m struck with how noisy and alive the area is. The sounds that stick out most are the birds calling to one another high in the trees. I think I heard something on the radio a while back about how the forest canopy is its own very unique ecosystem, which has prompted me to daydream about what it would be like to wander around up there.