Sunday, March 22, 2015
The color of this early morning in not-quite spring is liquid lavender, is pearly pink, is slightly silver in the way it glints and glows. The sky and the fields and everything in them are shaded as though tinted by a crayon unwrapped and swiped across the countryside with its long barrel, the sharp tip forgotten. Outlines and details are unimportant to the day as it languorously wakens.
I must be such an irritation, I with my door closing and opening. I with my heels clicking against the cement carport. I with my agitation born of hurry. Morning was not meant to be wasted on such as this, I think as I drive away from the shimmering landscape .
Five minutes, two miles of dirt road, and I see the first headlights. With every mile they increase in number, pinpricks puncturing the softness of morning. I remember the packages of needles my mother used to buy, a sheet of crisp red aluminum foil pierced by 12 needles all placed carefully into their slots. Over time, as Mama used the needles and replaced them, not so precisely, in the foil, it became soft and wrinkled, new holes appearing, connecting to each other, making bigger holes, holes that became slits, then slashes, until it, the red foil card, was something else entirely. That is what the morning sky looks like as car after car after car crests the rise in front of me.
I pay a lot of attention to the night sky. I have wished upon many a star, talked to many a moon. I have tilted my neck and stretched out my arms from roofs and beaches and yards and stared into blue blackness so deep that it swallowed me up completely. I have gasped and sighed and wept and wondered why I can not simply reach out and grasp the sterling stillness, clutch it in my fist and hold it close.
I have not had such a love affair with morning. I have watched the sun rise over water and fencerows and blinked my eyes at the brilliance, but ours has been a platonic relationship. We are so much alike, morning and I. Busy and eager and ... productive. No mystery. No seduction. No allure of the unknown.
Until now. Until this morning. This particular morning with its whisper of breeze that tugs at my hair and tickles my cheek and turns me, for just a moment, into an ingenue. That makes me want to sit on the steps and stare into the blush that hovers over the treetops, hugging my knees to my chest so that my heart doesn’t fall out. That makes me want to drive and drive and drive toward the warm bubble on the horizon, pulled like a magnet toward the one thing I can never reach.
So now the light is overhead. The colors are distinct. Edges have appeared. Day is upon me and I am mooning over morning.
It is reassuring to realize that one can still learn, can still grown, can still change. That after all the living that tends to dull the senses, all the experience that tends to create cynicism, all the birthdays that tend to chronicle fewer and fewer moments of amazement, one can still be caught unawares.
Tonight I’ll be staring at that splinter of moon dangling over Sandhill, still enamored of its magic and infatuated by its beauty, but tomorrow morning, without a tad of guilt or a smidgen or remorse, I’ll be flirting with the sunrise. When it comes to this astonishing world, I can be gladly polyamorous.
Sunday, March 08, 2015
This is what I heard. This is what I heard this morning. This is what I heard this morning when I walked outside into sunshine. When I walked outside into air that was warm and slightly cloying. This is what I heard: the songs of at least six different birds rising up gently from the branch like the voice of a mother awakening her sleeping child. This is what I heard: the drip drip drip of water off the roof onto the curved mouth of the gutter, a message delivered by tom-tom.
This is what I saw. This is what I saw this morning. This is what I saw this morning when I stepped out onto the grass and crossed the yard. When I tilted my head and stared up at the tip top of the sycamore tree where a few scattered seed pods still clung to the branches. This is what I saw: drops of dew clinging to tiny buds as though impervious to the pull of gravity, drops of dew shaped like tears and clear as a prism. This is what I saw: dandelions, flat and green, leaves splayed out like a first grader’s drawing of the sun, and spindly stems of wild verbena sprouting fingers of purple, rolled tight still, but aching to unfurl.
Every year, it seems, I find myself struggling toward spring, weary and weakened by the short days, the cold nights. Every year I fall toward some invisible finish line, like Philippides bearing the news of the victory at Marathon, not dead, but nearly so. This year, especially, I have been worn down by sympathetic misery for the people in Boston and Buffalo and Syracuse. Watching the videos of cars careening over iced highways and snow plows creating mountains along residential streets, I whisper a prayer of supplication for anyone who is cold and a prayer of thanksgiving that my weather extremes involve gnats and humidity.
So it was that I opened the back door this morning and realized that I did not need a coat – not even a sweater. Opened the back door and felt my eyes narrow against brightness both so foreign I hardly recognized it and so familiar I wanted to rush into its arms. Opened the back door and breathed in air that did not burn my throat.
And this is what I knew. This is what I knew standing in the light, standing in the breeze, standing in the music of the morning: The earth has survived another winter. By doing nothing more than resting and remaining it has defeated the darkness. No orbit was changed. No axis adjusted. No atmosphere altered.
As the realization rolled over me I walked around the yard to take its pulse. Weeds already sprouting in the herb garden; mint escaping its borders; dead leaves from the oak and sycamore trees choking the iris and day lily stalks. Winter always leaves a trail.
Stopping myself just before I bent down to pull a handful of trespassing green, I realized that there was something else I knew: I knew that I, too, have survived another winter. Somehow. Someway. Through no effort and despite all the complaining.
It is amazing what happens when one does nothing but wait.
I doubt that I will ever be a lover of the dim season. I suspect that I will always face down the cold and dark with belligerence and anger and the smallest amount of whining. But, like Philippides, I will finish. I will see the winter through and I will welcome each spring as though it is the first that has ever been, echoing his final words, "Joy to you, we've won! Joy to you!"