Easy birds – in this slow Summer

by Ingrid Robeyns on August 18, 2021

I promised those of you interested in Hilary Cottam’s Radical Help a booknote – but oh my goodness, I’ve been so slow this Summer. I guess I am not alone – if I can go by the stories of many (international) colleagues who are all very tired after trying to keep all balls in the air during the pandemic (in fact, with homelearning more balls than before). So I’ve tried to be foregiving to myself for missing various deadlines, including the self-imposed ones of the books I’d wanted to talk about here. I will get to chatting about that book before too long, but not this week.

In the meantime, I had to think of Crooked Timber while walking in the Belgian countryside two weeks ago – in particular to this photoblog by Chris in which he captured a swift in full action. I smiled when I saw these birds sitting, and though: I will make a picture of some swifts the easy way.

This Summer, with all the nasty events unfolding in the world (which leads to worries, sadness and anxieties, because it’s not easy to see how we can make a significant change), and with all the long-term fatigue from the pandemic, it seems so much better to try to take it the easy way. Ten more days, and then the third academic year in the pandemic will start.



Cora Diamond 08.18.21 at 9:48 pm

Nice photo, but not swifts. Swifts don’t hang out on wires, but fly non-stop, even flying while drinking and flying while copulating. The birds look like swallows.


Alan White 08.18.21 at 10:25 pm

Preening swifts against such a deep blue sky–really captures your mood in the OP.

As a retired academic, let me say I have tremendous sympathy for what you and your cohorts have gone through these tens of months; be well and as happy as you can Ingrid!


J-D 08.18.21 at 11:22 pm

Ten more days, and then the third academic year in the pandemic will start.

That’s true for you upside-down people. Here on the top side of the world, it will still be another five months. Remembering different perspectives helps to keep the mind supple.


Ingrid Robeyns 08.19.21 at 6:45 am

Thanks Cora – translation error on my part (I don’t know English bird names, and my online translator made no distinction between swifts and swallows.). Still learning English after all those years…

J.D. – yes, that’s true, and it’s even more complicated, since not all European universities start in September – some start in October. I had ‘in the Netherlands’ added to an earlier draft, but decided to delete since I’d thought most readers of this blog know by now where I’m located :) But I do get the point and often in emails to international colleagues write for example “the northern hemisphere Summer” – I agree it not only keeps the mind supple but also might, perhaps, help a little to geopolitically decenter Europe and North America.

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