Welcome. One of the conversations I find myself having frequently with loved ones in recent months is about how we experience time passing. Is it plodding, each month seeming, since March, to contain twice as many days? Or is it careening by, a windblown mess of calendar pages left in its dust?
It’s a luxury, to be sure, to have the bandwidth to consider such questions, to think about how we’re managing and making sense of time. Last week, I asked you about the tiny things you do each day that constitute a routine, how you wrangle whatever hours you have at your disposal and try to give them meaning.
Albert in California is baking muffins each morning. Lou in New Jersey does daily drawings. Jean-François, Quebec, kisses his wife first thing. Many are finding routine in yoga, meditation, prayer, walks, caring for plants and pets, drinking coffee outside. Julia, who’s been working to increase production of her own food, spends quality time each day with her chickens. Barbara is trying to “do the next right thing.”
My At Home colleagues are playing games. Ted is losing himself in city simulation video games, where he can control the creation of neighborhoods, transit systems, bus routes, the weather. Frannie plays Trivial Pursuit with her husband, Fishbowl and Codenames online with friends, and the card game Exploding Kittens with her larger family. Jaspal and her husband are building their way through their Lego Architecture sets. “We spend quality time together, working as a team, helping one another complete each step,” she says. “ The end product makes its way onto a bookshelf for us to admire and mark the passage of time.”
I like the New York Times crossword puzzle, where reducing my average daily completion times has become a bit of a part-time job. I loved reading about this treasure hunt on Block Island, which put me in mind of the summer scavenger hunts of my youth as well as Midnight Madness, a dizzyingly fun, large-scale puzzle game that used to take place in New York City in August. Teams would stay up all night solving clues, the answers to which would send them dashing off to another location in the city and the site of the next puzzle. My team never came close to winning, but we loved playing because the game offered what all good games do: diversion, challenge, small victories, catharsis.
How to deal.
Meet Doug Leen, the “Ranger of the Lost Art” for the national parks. He’s made it his life’s work to locate, restore and reproduce the silk-screened posters created for 13 parks and monuments in the 1930s and ’40s by Works Progress Administration artists.
Feeling a little wilted lately? On Wednesday, August 26 at 5:30 p.m. E.T., join our beauty and Well columnist Bee Shapiro; the reporter Danya Issawi; the wellness influencer Marcus Bridgewater, a.k.a. “Garden Marcus”; and the chef Angela Dimayuga for “Happy Garden, Healthy You.” The “mini-staycation” includes meditation, skincare tips, and a lesson in the basics of gardening. RSVP here.
And Parul Sehgal says Elena Ferrante’s new novel, “The Lying Life of Adults,” is “suspenseful and propulsive; in style and theme, a sibling to her previous books.”