Friday, April 29, 2022

Week in Seven Words #581

This covers the week of 3/7/21 - 3/13/21.

ambulate
In the largely empty bookstore, a teenaged boy walks in a slow, wide circle while reading out loud to himself through a mask.

electrifying
A riveting sax solo brings joy to this corner of the park.

iciness
Today, there's frost in their relationship. It keeps their sentences clipped and cold.

institutionalized
Two seals circle the small tank without pause or release, as the demented bells jangle on the hour.

optical
First new pair of glasses in a while, and I like how they look.

sparking
A crackling cloud of seagulls electrified by the promise of food.

tired
Crusty buildings, haggard strip malls. The brownness of late winter and early spring, everywhere brown, waiting to be relieved by flowers, leaves, anything green.

Saturday, March 12, 2022

Week in Seven Words #580

This covers the week of 2/28/21 - 3/6/21.

compulsions
We're caught in traps of compulsive behavior – web surfing, phone scrolling, screen watching.

deceptively
What looks like ice on the lake is only the glare of sunlight.

enlarged
The eyes always come out too large in the drawings. Large, placid ellipses.

held
His body shakes with his need to talk, to have someone listen.

liquefy
A land melting into mud and puddles that seem like ponds.

retrospect
Months from now, I sense this worry will seem superficial, a distraction from larger problems.

warmth
A golden retriever finds us as we sit shoulder-to-shoulder on the sunlit bench.

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Week in Seven Words #579

This covers the week of 2/21/21 - 2/27/21.

anticipation
Two people at opposite ends of a room. They're holding books, but they aren't reading. When will they talk to each other?

arrangements
It's the first time I've been to synagogue in a year. The room downstairs has been organized into islands of chairs. Some islands have one chair, others two. The service is quieter.

coveting
Birds taking off and landing on the feeders, while nearby a chunky squirrel stares, waiting his chance.

mud
The slip squish of mud. Everywhere mud. Most people grumble, but one kid is discovering the joy of a puddle in a field caked in mud and slush. He's not the one who will be washing his clothes later, which is part of what makes him happy.

protected
Sitting in the pool of warmth from an outdoor heater, the cold air pressing in but pushed back.

skin-deep
Our relationship has cooled from genuine warmth to superficial friendliness.
 
tedious
Tired of online events. The small, detached faces, the audio that fails, the lack of energy, the lure of other browser tabs.

Week in Seven Words #578

This covers the week of 2/14/21 - 2/20/21.

ache
We used to sit in this room with its floor-to-ceiling bookshelves and the lamplight on the red couch.

belly
They don't have sleds, but they do have bellies, so they slide down the hill head first, eyes squinting against the dazzle of sunlight on snow.

glimpses
Beyond the dense branches there's light, white and faintly purple.

moved
The silence of snow falling. At the bus stop, he says a brief prayer.

perching
She's gained access to the roof, and from there, she feeds birds.

unbroken
The fact that I have a good night's sleep is worth commenting on. I don't take it for granted.

wobble
Without his job, his days have turned to jello.

Sunday, February 13, 2022

Week in Seven Words #577

This covers the week of 2/7/21 - 2/13/21.

dork
The role she's been asked to audition for is an improbable one: the effortlessly gorgeous, socially awkward female nerd who's such a dork but never really says or does anything unattractive, she's just, you know, a dork with glasses and fashionable heels.

icy
The pond is clinking with ice, the shores crusty with slush and mud.

knotty
I meet him for the first time beside a tree with a heart-shaped knot.

lacework
Low branches turned to lacework by the snow.

mafia
The head and torso of the snowman are propped up on a bench, like a grim warning from the snowman mafia. ("Double-cross us, and you too will be disassembled before you melt.")

timeworn
It's cute how the author thinks that pairing a character in his 60s with a woman in her 20s is edgy.

unhelpful
"My problems," she says, "are about not asking for help when I need it, and getting the kind of help that holds me back."

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Week in Seven Words #576

This covers the week of 1/31/21 - 2/6/21.

complaints
As the elevators fail to come for 15, then 20 minutes, I speak to a neighbor from down the hall who's waiting with me. Over the years, our conversation has never gone beyond greetings. Now we talk about how her ceiling is flaking as if it has a bad case of dandruff. And we talk about the pandemic (wouldn't be a real conversation without pandemic talk).

micturating
A dog urinates on the fallen head of a snowman.

pleasant
Sitting with all of them is like hosting a talk show panel. I turn to each, ask questions, and give them time to speak. I serve as a moderator for interruptions and insults. There's no need for me to share anything about myself.

slush
The center of the frozen lake has softened into dark, slushy water, like a pond inside the lake. Some geese are at its gray edges.

snowfall
After the billows of the blizzard, there's a mesmerizing gentle snowfall.

surfeit
They take a shopping bag full of crumbled bread to the lake, and within minutes, a goose-duck metropolis has sprung up around them.

youthfully
After the dog's leg injury, they've set up a ramp for her against the couch. But she still tries to jump on and off, her energy at odds with her body.

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Week in Seven Words #575

This covers the week of 1/24/21 - 1/30/21.

crumbs
Instead of buying a pandemic puppy, she has gone outdoors more frequently to feed pigeons, easily summoned by crumbs.

domestic
Through video chat, I've become familiar with the view of his burgundy couch, the cat kneading a cushion before settling in.

ethereal
A special blue-white winter light on bare branches.

pianissimo
A fumbled song on piano keys in an unlit room.

subvert
Heavy metal drives her anxious thoughts away. But they come back in her sleep, bringing her to consciousness on a rising wave of dread.

sweetens
While working, I pick at a platter of figs, apricots, dates, and almonds, and I feel as if there should be palm fronds over my desk.

topiary
He's tried to trim the shrub to look like a cat. It looks like a vaguely feline creature emerging from a terrible green fog. But I like the effort.

Monday, January 17, 2022

Week in Seven Words #574

This covers the week of 1/17/21 - 1/23/21.

barely
Running water in a denuded wood. The bareness makes us wish for a fir or a pine. There's only some greenness – crisp holly leaves by a splintering log.

checkup
His office is comforting and old-fashioned. The sofas are upholstered in blue and yellow, and in a glass case he's arranged a variety of charmingly odd statues. Dust is the dominant smell, with a hint of aftershave. The appointment takes a while, longer than expected, but I'm glad he isn't rushing through it. The results feel more exact.

disturbing
She assumes I slept better because I stayed up reading a book. But the truth is I don't know why I sleep better on some nights and worse on others.

fragrant
The wood chips from different evergreens give off a sweet aroma like mango.

needing
I needed to hear that I have what I need. (Besides trust. I need more trust.)

subject
I don't know what a given conversation will be like. Sometimes, it's about the pandemic and what's happening to the economy. Other times, it's about eggless cake batter and nothing else.

tamed
The heating unit that has been squealing is now purring.

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Week in Seven Words #573

This covers the week of 1/10/21 - 1/16/21.

frozen
One chair rests on the ice, and the other two are partly submerged. The ice is thick enough to engulf them, to clutch at them and freeze them in place half-in and half-out of the water.

hopefully
I'm not sure if what I'm doing will make things better. At the very least, I don't think it will make things worse.

jays
I'm glad that I can still be delighted by blue jays. They're clear drops of color in a drab, cold world.

overreaching
Amazing to see people cheering on an ever-broadening censorship from big tech companies, maybe because they think it will never apply to any of their own extremely correct opinions.

squirreled
Testy and tense, a squirrel sits at the fork of two branches with a small stash of nuts. Thieves approach from all sides. In another tree, a squirrel plummets 15 feet and lands unharmed on mushy leaves.

time-traveling
He says his mind is bouncing between past mistakes and dire scenarios that may play out in the future, but he doesn't think much about the present. It doesn't leave an impression on him the way regret and anxiety do.

withdrew
"My social skills are gone," she says, half joking, "and I'm never making plans again."

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Week in Seven Words #572

This covers the week of 1/3/21 - 1/9/21.

abed
Tousled hair, face smushed into the pillow, cold air leaking in.

attends
Applying for a job, she wonders how she can make her qualifications look more impressive. "Doesn't fall asleep during Zoom meetings, usually," is a good one.

continue
Stay calm, and keep writing.

friend
Whenever I hear from her, I think about how glad I am that we're friends.

incapacitated
Once seated at the piano, she merely stares at the keys. She doesn't know how to begin, because inside her there's no music, only knots of fear.

morbid
As soon as I start slipping into helpless spectator mode, I try to wrench my attention away from the news.

unsteadily
Buildings in the background, denuded trees in the foreground, and slick muddy paths that make the world wobble.

Sunday, January 9, 2022

Week in Seven Words #571

This covers the week of 12/27/20 - 1/2/21.

advisory
As New Year's Day approaches, Duolingo is telling me something: "Fais plus de sport!"

aurora
I look over her shoulder at the computer game she's playing, Heroine's Quest, and I'm enchanted by its artistry. In one scene, the player character goes ice fishing at night against a backdrop of Northern Lights.

fairyland
In the field, a hollow has filled with rain, and it looks magical in the gray light.

glazed
The stalls at the holiday market look like bright glass cubes. Most of them sell warm food, like apple cider donuts, or they display art, jewelry, and pretty knickknacks.

propping
Some of the paintings crackle with life. Others are weak, supported mostly by the jargon in their captions.

quarantine
Thankfully, they're feeling better, but they're still quarantined, their viruses mingling pleasantly.

strains
Musicians try to pump some cheer into lackluster people. Not enough people for a crowd, and still too many businesses closed.

Week in Seven Words #570

This covers the week of 12/20/20 - 12/26/20.

cinnamon
Errands sweetened by puffs of cinnamon-laden wind from the vendors' carts.

frustration
"What's the point?" she asks. "What's the point of learning any of this?" And there isn't an easy answer. Telling her that learning can be good for its own sake would be a glib response.

manifests
With creeping wonder and dread, he realizes that his isolation has made him more like his father.

osculation
Kissing by an arched stone bridge, ducks in a gaggle and the water crisp with ice.

skating
It's easier to talk about books, history, and other topics that aren't deeply personal. I don't often unearth the personal in conversation.

snowman
A towering snowman awaits us on the knoll. The next day, he's still there, looking less robust but still stubbornly upright.

wisecrack
When asked to rate his pain on a scale of 1 to 10, he hesitates before saying, "Pi" (a joke from a TV show he's been watching).

Thursday, January 6, 2022

Week in Seven Words #569

This covers the week of 12/13/20 - 12/19/20.

linguistic
An app with a green owl mascot is helping me work on Hebrew writing and French reading comprehension skills.

nurturing
She's painted the walls of her bedroom a dusky pink and hung up drawings of plants, from lianas to roses. The room feels more vital and cozy, as if everything in it is cupped in warm hands.

rebuild
Of the dumb, shattering decisions people make, from which will they recover and to what extent?

silvered
A silver sheen on the lake and leafless trees.

snowing
The park is powdered, the paths slick.

viruses
I'm glad to hear she's feeling better. One virus dominates the headlines these days, but there are still others, like colds, flus, and stomach bugs – miserable, and sometimes very serious. 

warmer
The heat from the candles washes over my hands, and I feel cozier and more content.

Monday, January 3, 2022

Week in Seven Words #568

This covers the week of 12/6/20 - 12/12/20.

anemic
It's a major shopping avenue, and on normal years it would be teeming with people and sparkling with lights and sensational window displays. Now, only one store looks festive. The rest are subdued. It's a pallid celebration.

colder
There are no more turtles in the pond. Only dark, frosty water with ducks.

insights
Increasingly, we talk about interesting lectures he's heard on different Jewish topics. Familiar texts still have a great deal in them that we haven't explored and considered.

riverbank
A walk by the river: joggers, people with strollers and dogs, and, yet again, dead fish glistening belly-up in the water. Later in the week, a milky fog swallows up the river, and the fish are gone.

roly-poly
This is the season of fattening. Of cold and carbs and holiday treats.

seethes
She doesn't realize that the venom of her jealousy keeps them at a distance.

utilize
Minding the gaps: I want to make better use of gaps in my schedule, like the hour between two meetings. What "better use" means would vary from one day to another: answering emails, doing some research, closing my eyes for a short while.

Week in Seven Words #567

This covers the week of 11/29/20 – 12/5/20.

crusty
The basin has been drained. It's encrusted in dirt and leaves like diseased skin.

diving
Wake up in a low, grubby mood. Getting to work immediately helps.

radiance
I love the tree that's still bright yellow, a flame awaiting winter with confidence.

reversal
Waisting, sleeting – two seven-letter words, both last minute, that win her the game.

spying
A drone hovers outside the window. Is it filming us? Where is this boundary-wrecking insectile contraption from?

stomping
They stomp around on a lawn caked in wet fallen leaves. They're ecstatic at the crunching, the crumpling.

wafting
Sometimes, what connects people in these socially distanced times, is the smell of Frosted Coconut Snowball hand sanitizer.