Saturday, March 5, 2011

February Thaw

A February thaw in Birdland means that the floors are crisscrossed with an attractive paw print motif. I am training Ursula to stop at the door and let me wipe off her paws with an old towel, but if she gets past me even once she will decorate all the floors. Now that it’s warmer, we’ve been playing our “fetch” game more often. She even likes to play it in the house, bringing me her tiny squeak soccer ball so I can toss it across the room. However, she doesn’t quite get the concept that in order for me to throw it for her, she has to let it go. Yes, being greedy with the ball does put a crimp in the rhythm of the game. She gets stuck in holding on and fetch becomes a game of tag and tug of war. I want to tell her to go with the flow and stop hoarding the soccer ball.

Almost all of the snow has melted, bringing a dramatic color change to Birdland. Instead of a blinding brightness, the world now holds more solemn browns, grays, and shades of black with just a tinge of tawny gold and woodsy green. Everything is damp and the snowmelt had generated a winding stream through the south field. Last night’s sunset turned it into a molten ribbon of fuchsia, until the full moon rose and the sky darkened and the miniature river turned golden in the dark earth.

The moon has me thinking about the difference between letters and email. Odd thought process, I know, but the full moon has been filling my bedroom with silver light and keeping me awake. I could send you an email and see if you’ve been having the same experience, and you might write back the same day and say, “yes, I can’t get any sleep at all” or “no, I have room darkening shades.” I could send you a text message and say, “look out your east window right now if you want to see the most beautiful bronze disc in the sky.” And you might text back: “it’s lovely.”

But a letter is another story. By the time I mail the letter and it travels across the land to your box (the trip will be longer if I’ve misheard your zip code and sent it to Desert Hot Springs, California first) or by the time the newspaper prints it, the moon will no longer be full. That bronze disc will brighten our nights only in our imagination, perhaps frozen in time by our letters. Other things might be keeping us awake, or maybe the dark of the moon lets us sleep.

The snowmelt has turned the yard soft and muddy. Tiny glaciers dot the lawn, and the receding snow line has uncovered the tips of bulbs, waking up after a long hibernation. Green points of iris emerge, and the blunt blades of daffodil. Catalogs arrive daily in the mail, both gardening and poultry, and I’ve got chickens on my mind. In another month I’ll make an order, or perhaps pick up a box of day old chicks at one of the farm stores. My poor, lonely rooster will have someone to crow for in the spring.

This morning I woke to rain, slicking the trees and dissolving the last little lumps of snow.

The dogs dance at the door, and I let them out. I breathe in the damp scent of warming earth, feel the fresh breeze on my face. I linger, before turning back to my morning routine, standing for just a moment on the threshold of spring.

Flow in Beauty; Welcome Peace: Blessed Be.

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