Saturday, November 27News That Matters

Leaving Home, and Returning to It

Welcome. When the world opens up more, will we have less time? I was chatting with some of my colleagues about this last week, how the absence of a commute has led, some days, to a more spacious schedule, one with time to fold laundry between meetings, to walk the dog at lunch. Brian Hogan, a barber in suburban Des Moines, built a video store in his basement.

We have the same amount of time, but, gradually, more experiences with which to fill it. Mask mandates eased slightly, an afternoon stroll becomes an adventure. I lingered, a few days ago, snapping photos from every angle of a preposterous red tulip with petals larger than my palm. Why had I never noticed the distinct, nearly psychedelic shades of pink advertised by the cherry, dogwood and magnolia trees on my block? Ezra Marcus investigated the seeming proliferation of breathtaking blooms this year. “Have the tulips changed, or have we?” he asked.

The bears and berries are emerging in Sweden, it’s wildflower season in the Eastern United States. Even our homes are telling us it’s time to get out there, however “out there” we feel comfortable getting. Our expeditions away from home may exhilarate and exhaust us. We travel farther from home only to return, where we’ll try Melissa Clark’s recipes for fruit and vegetable tarts that use store-bought puff pastry, play video games that allow us to “redo any bad day with the click of a button.” We’re out and about in the world more and more, but still most at home at home.

Bethany Padgett in Bellingham, Wash., has a podcast suggestion for those who dug “The Apology Line.”

Check out “Beautiful Stories From Anonymous People,” hosted by the comedian Chris Gethard. It’s a pretty similar concept: People get one hour to call in and share whatever they would like, protected by anonymity. Sometimes people do share their darkest secrets and the show is a wild ride, but sometimes it’s more of a slice-of-life story or just some stream-of-consciousness chitchat about what the meaning of life truly is. Chris points out that no matter how different everyone is, we all share some basic values like wanting a place to come home to and people we can fall back on.

  • Movie of the Night is a nifty recommendation engine that allows you to specify your choice of genre, release year, streaming service and more.

  • Patricia McCormick has a fantastic story in The Washington Post Magazine about Mary Ann Vecchio, a.k.a. The Girl in the Kent State Photo: “‘That picture hijacked my life,’ says Mary Ann, now 65. ‘And 50 years later, I still haven’t really moved on.’”

  • This video of Louis J. Horvitz directing the 1997 Oscars broadcast will give you a new appreciation for what goes on behind the scenes at awards ceremonies. (Link contains some excited vulgarity.)

Have the tulips changed, or have we? How have you changed over the past year? Is it for the better? Tell us: athome@nytimes.com. Include your name, age and location. We’re At Home. We’ll read every letter sent. As always, more ideas for leading a full and cultured life at home and near it appear below. See you on Friday.