Now that I've got your attention with a provocative title and an image of the crocuses (finally!) blooming outside my back door, I must confess that this post has nothing to do with the natural world. Read on if you dare.
Weird Thing #1. A week ago, our neighborhood was stunned to learn about a murder-suicide committed by a local earthmoving contractor. On Tuesday afternoon, news helicopters and police cars appeared at the home of the contractor, Chris, who had worked with our organization frequently over the past two decades. Chris was a pleasant, cooperative, and agreeable 48-year-old who had gone out of his way on many occasions to help our land trust. A few weeks before the killings, I had spoken with him over coffee as we waited for a plumber to finish a job so that Chris could backfill a trench. I was teasing Chris about letting his membership to our organization lapse, and he replied, "Scott, you have no idea what I'm going through at home!" whereupon he told me the whole sordid story of his messy, rancorous divorce. The weird thing about an otherwise all-too-common but no-less-tragic occurrence: Chris strangled his ex-wife, stabbed her repeatedly in the neck, and then mutilated her body with a chain saw - after which he used the chain saw to cut off his right leg so that he bled to death.
Weird Thing #2. Yesterday (April 6) was the first day we had temperatures above 70 degrees F here this year, and the skies were crystal blue. Kali was off work for Easter Monday, so she did some volunteer land stewardship work around the preserve to get out and enjoy the perfect spring day. After I finished working for the day and suggested we go for a walk, she informed me that she had been out all afternoon and was tired; she suggested I walk by myself. Rather than just go for a walk alone, I decided to do a "power walk" to get my heart rate up to aerobic levels. (I can't run any more because of my "bum" right knee, but strenuous walking seems to be okay.) So, I got out my iPod, my noise cancelling headphones, and I queued-up some of my favorite Scissor Sisters dance music for aural motivation. Normally, I'm a pretty mild-mannered, self-effacing guy, but when I get into my power walk backed up by the Scissor Sisters (or the Pet Shop Boys), I feel like I could take on the world. The weird thing is that the loud, rhythmic music coupled with a gait that I adjust to match the beat of the music transforms me into another person - someone I hardly recognize. I'm energized, ready to tackle any challenge. A bicyclist using a wrong trail or a dog walkers allowing her/his dog to roam untethered had best steer clear of me when I'm pumped up because I'll bite their head off. It's tribal, hypnotic, empowering - and more than a little bit scary.
Weird Thing #3. This morning, Kali sent me an email with a link to an article in the Washington Post about Frank Sinatra: "Ol' Blue Eyes Still Sparkles". The article begins, "Frank Sinatra would have been 100 years old on December 12, 2015, and already the commemorations have begun - an exhibition at the New York Public Library, a two-part documentary on HBO, and the reissue of several books. The music endures, but so does the dirt." In the article, the Frank Sinatra is quoted as having once said "All men are lonely." In her email to me, Kali wrote, "I like the line that 'all men are lonely.' You seem like
that at times." Maybe it's not weird, but it really took me aback; I think we'll have something to talk about over dinner tonight.