2022 has felt at once like one of those 10-year-long years and also like it was January just 30 seconds ago. I’m unsure how to make sense of that, especially when this year followed the plague years of 2021 and 2020, and time has never passed as slowly as it did then. Maybe this year is an unending round of gym class laps and those were Artax in the Swamp of Sadness.

There’s more than one way to measure stagnance, I guess.

I put up a bird feeder this year – a cheap one, hung from a wobbly metal arm fastened to the deck railing. I can see it from my old falling-apart recliner, where I plant myself as soon as I get home from work. For a while there was a raccoon and not many birds; I didn’t realize there was a raccoon for an embarrassingly long time, but when I did I swapped to a different seed blend, and suddenly the birds showed up in flocks. No longer just a pair of grumpy cardinals but a family of chubby titmice, a solitary phoebe, a yellow-breasted something or other.

There’s not a lot to say about this year for me, really. It’s been a slog, but at least I’ve got the birds.