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Blackberry winter

I’m back to getting up at 4 AM and writing, writing, writing. The History of the Medieval World is CRAWLING towards completion. I am slightly relieved, on going back and rereading some of the earlier chapters, that they are not quite as dead awful as I originally thought. It gives me hope that my current dead-awful prose will sound better, a few weeks down the road.

I’m sitting down in my office listening to the wind howl outside. Branches are lashing against the roof, water is pouring down the windows. I’ve got my heater on to keep my feet warm. This happens every spring: we get a cold, wet week or two that feels more like February than May. My grandmother called it blackberry winter, and sure enough, it comes when the blackberries are in full bloom.

We get a blackberry winter pretty much every year, but it always surprises me when it happens. It’s been cold and dark and grey for ten days now,

and it has rained, and rained, and rained, and rained. And rained. The horses are standing in ankle-deep water in the paddock,

so I turned them out into the pasture, where they stood out in the rain all day instead of coming in and spending the afternoon in a nice, dry stall.

(Our draft horse Max now has a friend–this is our very sweet-natured new horse, a thoroughbred with such a naturally calm disposition that he’s practically comatose. The kids haven’t named him yet, so I call him Minimus. He looks a little muddy and cold here, but if the sun ever comes out again I’ll post a nice picture.)

To close, a few late History of the Ancient World bits: a nice review from, a review-essay from Books and Culture, and I’m a nominee for the Library of Virginia awards. Also, you can now pre-order The Art of the Public Grovel in Canada, should you be so inclined.