Specimen Days

A specimen day

Some days are like that.  We get asked to bring a specimen to a doctor, or in some cases to a vet.  Sounds scientific. We dutifully produce the required “goods”…..  My puppy is as faithful as the early sun.  If it calls for a specimen, any ol’day will do.  

Walt Whitman wrote about his days, and famously titled them “Specimen Days and Collect” which receives a new meaning over 100 years later.  Whitman’s work collected under this title captures a world which includes the Civil War, and is a model for a writing that is reminiscent in tone.  He published it at an advanced age.  He writes about people and events in retrospect, and famously shapes it in a way finds meaning in the days of his life..

Our days just now are much like that for all of us.  Especially maybe those of us who get to go the grocery shopping early.  I have heard it  called the “geaser” grocery shopping hours.  Old and young alike, however, we all have been slapped awake in a world which is facing unprecedented adjustments because of a virus.

Some days, are just like that. Follow me now.

While pouring hot water over my coffee there is a time called pre-infusion.   The Infusion method grinds coffee at a perfect density to allow the water to drip through.  As an alternate example,  there are metal sculptors who call out when pouring into molds or shapes, the metal being at perfect liquidity:  “Good pour!”  When my hot water bubbles up at just the “right” rate, it forms a  bulb of gradually brownish aromatic liquid.  The ratio of ground coffee to water poured has been crafted by me over time.  It has a great scent, some days it seems so more than others. In the spring, when I’ve slept late, and the sun is coming up at just around the same time.  “Good pour!”  Then I know, it will be:  “that kind of day!” 

If it is a “puzzlement” the kind of day I am detailing here,  I apologize.   In these days of Coronavirus doesn’t it seem like each day counts for bit more?   For me,  it does.   I think that they get especially counted.  It has been X number of days since our governor declared that we should not gather in groups larger than 10.   X number of days since we declared an 8:00 PM. curfew in Portland.  Specimen days.  I am still having my morning coffee, and make my early morning “geaser” grocery store runs.  But it doesn’t feel like the same routines or habits are the same.   

It seems like each day has more of a chance to be a specimen day in Walt Whitman’s use of the word.  I feel like I have more of an obligation to make each one that.

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