Specimen Days

A specimen days Some days are just that.   We are asked to bring a specimen to a vet.  It sounds nicely scientific. We need to record the new mileage to get our new licence plate tag. We dutifully produce the required “dark material” for the vet’s analytics. My puppy is as faithful as the early sun.  If anyone were to ask him for a specimen, any ol’day he will do it. He does it even when not asked. So too does special become commonplace. Walt Whitman wrote about his days, and famously titled them “Specimen Days and Collect” which receives a new meaning more than 100 years later.  Whitman’s work collected under his title captures a world which includes the Civil War, and is a model for a writing that is both reminiscent and reflective in tone.  He published it at an advanced age.  He writes about people and events in retrospect, and famously shapes it to aid him in finding meaning in the days of his life. Our days of adjustment due to Corona Virus – 19, march on accompanied by mass distributed varieties of innoculation and boosters.

Our days just now are much like that for all of us.  Especially for those of us who get invited to go grocery-shopping early.  I have heard such schedules called the “geeser” grocery shopping time.  Old and young alike, however, we all have been slapped awake to a world which is facing unprecedented adjustments because of a virus. Kids are trying to adjust to virtual classes. We see them going masked. Professional football teams have run out of non positively-tested quarterbacks.

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

While pouring hot water over my mode of brewing coffee there is a time called pre-infusion.   The Infusion method uses ground coffee at a perfect density to allow the water to drip through.  As an alternate example of this,  metal sculptors call out when pouring into molds or shapes when the metal is at a perfect liquidity:  “Good pour!”  When my hot water bubbles up at just the “right” rate, it forms a  bulb of deeply–dark brownish aromatic liquid.  The ratio of ground coffee to water poured has been experimented by me for more than 25 years.   It has a great scent, though some days it seems especially more aromatic than others. In the spring, when I’ve slept late, and the sun is coming up at just around the same time as the pour I think of the sculptor’s mantra “Good pour!”  It is then that I know, it will be:  “a specimen day!” 

If it is puzzling the kind of day that I am detailing here,  I apologize.   In these days of Coronavirus doesn’t it seem like each day counts for bit more, and then they conspire to seem, conversely, too endlessly normal   For me, they seem to do both at once..   I think that they get especially counted.  Specimen days.  I am still having my morning coffee, and make my masked 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 we are almost obligated to take advantage of them.. Yet we are also caught up in the reverse, in the mundane and everyday. My cat keeps getting me up at 5:00 A.M., I’m still aware eating my habitual morning banana. I keep adding a “pinch of coffee to grow an inch” in the scoops of coffee grounds measured each morning into the Melita filter. ( I remember my mother’s gleeful admonition that this is when measurements work best, remembering to add the pinch extra).

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