The New York Times: The Morning Briefing

New rites of spring.

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Accessed on 09 April 2022, 1256 UTC.

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Russ Roberts (

April 9, 2022

Good morning. While we engage in the usual rituals of the changing season, we’re growing accustomed to spring cleaning our minds as well.

Fien Jorissen

Spring reset

It’s breeding season for birds in my neck of the woods. I’m keeping an ear out for the mourning doves and pigeons, their magic-hour call-and-response. “The birds’ antics are an invocation to tune in — and to bear witness,” writes Margaret Roach, our gardening columnist.

Perhaps because I’m returning to the office this spring after two years of working remotely, I’m especially attuned to the rituals of the changing season. But even if I’d been out and about with more regularity, as many people have been, I think this year would still feel momentous. Spring cleaning seems symbolic — banish cobwebs from room and mind alike! Lingering outdoors in the ample daylight feels almost like an honor.

For the past couple years, new rites have accompanied the baseboard sweeping and wardrobe changeover: brushing up on social skills, preparing for being in the company of others. Readying for, if not a “hot girl summer” (fool us twice), then at least a temperate-to-warmish girl summer, a season of being out, about and “unapologetically you” while keeping expectations manageable.

Of course, spring cleaning of the mind is no longer confined to spring. The fluctuations of variants require us to balance social contact with social distance, being out and being in, regardless of the season. Sometimes, but not always, these rhythms comport with the calendar. We’re required to be nimble, to shift gears quickly.

One evening recently, I stopped outside a bar on my way home from dinner. The light was living-room dim, the vibe after-work chill. Everyone was dancing. Not full-on, cut-a-rug dancing, just moving their feet and hips languidly, an easy shuffle in time to the music. People were still holding their drinks, but they were all moving, almost as one organism. It was mesmerizing.

When was the last time I’d seen people dance? When was the last time I’d danced myself? It occurred to me that dancing could be an ideal spring reset activity. It allows us to be around other people without worrying about rusty social skills, to be in conversation without speaking.

“Would you recognize the courtship display of a hummingbird?” Roach asks in her column. I definitely would not. But I’m on the lookout now for the ways that humans flap their wings at one another, when they chatter and when they go silent. Whether we’re grooving casually together or making small talk, we’re searching for (and sometimes finding) ways to get comfortable again, to broker the distance between ourselves and others.

For more

  • How to attract birds to your garden.
  • “It can be hard to admit that we sometimes need to be taught how to treat our own bodies, and the bodies of others, with curiosity, courage and tenderness.” Carina del Valle Schorske on a season of dancing.
  • Here is a lovely paean to cycles, in love, art, physics and elsewhere.


๐Ÿ“บ TV: “Abbott Elementary” is our critic’s network comedy pick.

๐Ÿ•บ Dance: A treasured postmodern work is onstage in Brooklyn.

๐Ÿ–ผ Art: J.M.W. Turner’s 19th-century work is on exhibition in Boston.


Ruth Fremson/The New York Times


Tarps covered bodies after an attack on a train station in eastern Ukraine yesterday.Fadel Senna/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

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Clockwise from left: SpaceCrafting for Lakes Sotheby's International Realty; Hometrack Real Estate; Matt Varney Photography

What you get for $300,000: A Tudor Revival house in Minneapolis, a 1924 bungalow in Baltimore or a cottage in Salem, Ore.

The hunt: A family wanted a second bathroom and a decent yard. Which home did they choose? Play our game.

Sidewalk furniture: Here are experts’ tips on spotting curbside gems.

Sticker shock: Rising prices are making deals on rent a thing of the past in New York City.


Ryan Young for The New York Times

In Los Angeles: Japanese inspirations top Neapolitan-style pizzas.

Spring menu: Shaved asparagus, roasted chicken with green garlic and a rhubarb crumble.

At the Seder: Black American Jews are adding foods that more fully represent their identities to their Passover meals.

The ultimate host: A top London restaurateur was forced out, angering the A-list crowd.


Russell Westbrook at the Met Gala last year.Nina Westervelt for The New York Times

Full slate: The N.B.A. star Russell Westbrook is struggling on court, but his off-court projects are thriving.

Personal pastime: Idris Elba’s love of video games had him jumping at a role in “Sonic the Hedgehog 2.”

Ghost blurb: A writer got Charlotte Brontรซ to endorse her book. Through a medium.

Seeking help: Trauma affects millions of people. Why are so few treated?


Tiger Woods at the 12th tee at the Masters.Doug Mills/The New York Times

The Masters golf tournament: You don’t have to like golf to enjoy the Masters, with the course’s verdant fairways, azaleas and magnolia trees. Listen to the whispered commentary, or just try to identify the bird calls (which officials swear are not prerecorded). And keep an eye on the short 16th hole, where the crowd gets loud and holes-in-one are not uncommon. 3 p.m. Eastern today and 2 p.m. tomorrow on CBS.

For more:


The pangram from yesterday’s Spelling Bee was armadillo. Here is today’s puzzle — or you can play online.

Take the news quiz to see how well you followed this week’s headlines.

Here’s today’s Wordle. If you’re in the mood to play more, find all our games here.

Before You Go …

Thanks for spending part of your weekend with The Times. — Melissa

Claire Moses, Ian Prasad Philbrick, Tom Wright-Piersanti, Ashley Wu and Sanam Yar contributed to The Morning. You can reach the team at


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