Forsythia in bloom. Grass greening. Ground softening and loosening. Branch tips fattening into buds. Neighborhoods awakening and children outside playing for short spells. Garden plans being made. Squirrels and bunnies and birds cavorting in the yard. Easter decorations in stores. Ice cream stands dark all winter starting to open for business. Ball fields full and runners charging around the bases. Sunshine and showers in equal measure. Snow.
April is a fickle month. One day coatless, one day searching high and low for the mittens I misplaced. Today we have blustery winds and snow showers, which puts a little damper on my sun-worshipper within. I know we are moving forward, though, so I refuse to let a little frozen water change my hopeful mood. I’ll move through the cutting wind with my chin in my collar and my eyes squinched mostly shut, thinking of warmer days soon to come and planning my summer vacation.
Spring will eventually stop being so capricious and linger. Tomorrow, maybe. That’s not what the meteorologist is predicting, but I’m hoping.
There is a big yellow ball-shaped thing in the sky, and I am not sure whether to cower or bask. What is it? My genetic memory tells me it is something good, but I am still afraid of it – it’s so bright!
All kidding aside, we have had some pretty gray and gloomy days lately, and I am itching to be done with sweaters and thick socks and layers every time I want to step out of my house. Today the skies are bright blue, the snow looks like it’s diminishing (even if only a little) and there is vague hope that we have turned a seasonal corner here.
It’s still pretty cold and rather windy so I don’t think I’ll spend much time outside contemplating the “heavenly anomaly”, but I can sit here inside, in my fleece, with my coffee cup warming my palms, and think of brighter things to come. The last of the snow melting until next year, say. Or getting our boat back into the water after a season ‘on the hard’. Or days at the pool or dockside, cold drink in hand, nice sail behind me. Or even driving with my windows rolled down and shades on, playing Rodrigo y Gabriela rather too loudly.
I’m physically tired of being cooped up, too. I need to move a little, shake off the hibernation we tend to get into up here in the north. That winter putting on of the weight is done, and I’m newly sweet-free. I feel lighter and more active already, but I still have no place to go, so it feels like I am marking time until I can get out and move.
Come on, sun – melt that snow. I’m ready to get out and walk some miles.
The chickadees were looking for the bagels smeared with peanut butter and birdseed, but the fat squirrels had stolen all three at the end of last week. Now that the snow had arrived again and the world was dressed in white, the birds were frantically searching for seed where they remembered it. My youngest daughter saw the lack and set about making new seed covered bagels to hang. She trudged out into the snowy yard in her pajamas and heavy coat to fulfill their needs, hanging stale mini-pretzels on the lower parts of the bushes in hopes that the squirrels would be satisfied with that and leave the seed to the songbirds.
We all need someone to see what we need and provide it, in one way or another. Too many times I have needed something from someone, only to have a disgruntled thought pop into my head.
“They should know what I need already. Don’t they see it?”
Then I’m left with the sobering thought that if I don’t say I need something, I probably won’t get it. Perhaps the wish to have our needs provided for without asking is a remainder from our childhoods, when our mothers and fathers were magical and could anticipate our needs. They saw what we needed and strove to make the world as idyllic as they could.
Handing out a list of what you want for your birthday or Christmas means you might get exactly what you want, but it seems contrary to the spirit of gift giving to specify what that gift should be. I’d much rather have the giver be able to see what I like and what I need, and provide it. That’s asking a lot, I know. It requires the people around you to really know you and think about you and consider you as they travel through the world.
I am in need of a little mind-reading and magic at times. If I have to ask for something, it diminishes the return.
A man uses his snowblower on all the driveways and sidewalks on his street after the last big snowstorm. He was out there already, it needed to be done, he had the time. Only one neighbor said thanks afterward, probably not in an “if I thank him he will do it again” kind of way, but just because he was surprised and grateful. The neighbor may have been facing challenges that day and was unable to get out there and do it, or maybe he was just heading out to do it himself and noticed it done. Either way, he thanked the man and went on his way, but things like that have a way of being remembered. The simple appreciative word sticks in the man’s mind. When it snows again, he does his drive and the one belonging to the grateful neighbor. Only those two.
A friend posted yesterday about the “sucktacular” day they were having. I posted a hug back their way, just because it’s what I would have done had they been in the room with me. It took me nine keystrokes and a hit on the enter key to accomplish it, and late last night she wrote a in a note, “…it is usually the little things, when positive, that bring me such great joy, and become my shield against the negative little things. Gratefully those appeared today as well. A virtual hug from a friend. Supportive words from my fellow admins. and friends…”. I was completely surprised that my small and instinctive response made a difference, no matter how minor, to my friend.
A simple gesture costs nothing, and you never know how much it’s needed or how it will be received.
No music. No voices. Even the quiet whoosh of the furnace kicking on sounds loud. If you had asked me this weekend, I would have said the thing I needed was peace and quiet. Now that I have it, not so much.
Everything seems in suspended animation. There are chores to be done, but I am not doing them yet. I am making a shopping list to go to the store, but I am loathe to leave the house. I keep checking the box that the cat is resting in, to pet him, and give him a touch, and let him know I am near. My youngest daughter has finally stopped looking for miracles; now she just doesn’t want him to be alone at the end. Neither do I.
The weathermen have begun predicting a massive snowstorm for mid-week, so I really need to get groceries. I’ll just have to leave the house at some time today. Of course, every major storm they have predicted so far this year hasn’t materialized, or not in the near disasterous proportions they said. Perhaps part of this unease is from the weather coming, too. We used to be able to predict weather through our bones far more than having scientists tell us. My bones are restless and waiting.
The girls will be home later, and perhaps I’ll get the feeling of moving through time again. I have lessons to teach tonight, and there will be homework to help with, things to get ready for tomorrow. I’ll know there is a future. For right now, though, this moment is all there is.
This may be a very long day.
It’s pretty when it’s falling gently to earth out of a gray sky, past black empty branches. We imitate it in children’s toys, shaking a globe and watching faux flakes settle in a scene. It sometimes blows sideways, whistling across the ground and cutting through our jackets to chill us. It makes a bleak black and white movie scene backdrop for the panicked struggle of George Bailey or a canvas on which Currier and Ives painted golden light and prancing sleigh horses. We long for a white Christmas and plan vacations around sports that couldn’t exist without it.
Then January comes, and I wish it would go the heck away.
When did the delight of a snowy day become dread and depression? When did snow forts and snowball fights and snow days and snow pants all become bad words? Midwest winters are capricious, but the older I get, the shorter I’d like them to be. I need a little convenient, decorative, festive snow, then I’m done with it. Winter drags on and on, sometimes coating the roads with slush halfway into April. Even though we have lots of modern conveniences to shield us from the temperatures, I long for the warmth of summer and the freedom of leaving the house without a coat and boots and the other detritus of Zone 5 living.
Today we have the drifting, slow dancing variety. Soon we’ll be back to the impossible to drive in, kids home from school, needing to shovel kind. I’ll try to appreciate the meek version while I can, and continue learning phrases of patois to use if I ever get a chance to escape to Jamaica.