Postcard From the Edge of Snowland

10 degrees out when I head to the post office. In a sort of collective ah, screw it to concerns about global warming, many of the cars around town simply keep running—some, no doubt, to keep drivers’ toes warmish, others simply to maintain juice running through the battery.

Home with a cold, my daughter spreads out her photos that arrived in the post office box this morning. Despite my ontological hesitations about linear time, she strings together her memories. When did we go to Burton Island? Prince Edward Island?

On the couch, drinking coffee beside the sleeping cats, I keep writing cheerful pieces about spring—paid work for a family magazine—encouraging folks to get out. I believe in these things, and I’m glad for the work. I’m particularly happy for this work on days when I need to be home, in my ratty jeans with soup bubbling on the stove.

But spring? Daffodils? Lying on the grass between the blueberry bushes?

Possible. But not all that probable.

Unless, of course, my kid is right, that time is linear, and we’re not trapped forever in this vortex of midwinter.

…..and though the questions
that have assailed us all day
remain — not a single
answer has been found –
walking out now
into the silence and the light
under the trees,
and through the fields,
feels like one.

— Mary Oliver

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Hiatus in My Signs of Spring Project

About that April is the cruelest month line…..

Wind tore around the house last night, howling. I left this morning in the dark, with clouds rushing over the waning moon. It was so early the sky was yet that deep blue, nearly black, just before dawn.

The nights are cold enough the warm house is welcome. The 12-year-old, teetering on that cusp of childhood and teenage-land, revamps her cardboard cathouse creation, from a Victorian three-story into a sprawling mansion. The cats, bored with me when I’m not feeding them, clamber excitedly through her construction zone.

April is that in-between month, too. Winter dying — hard, reluctant — the soil not loosened for planting peas. Every day is longer, the sunlight rushing headlong back to us. Bring it on!

The soil is the great connector of lives, the source and destination of all. It is the healer and restorer and resurrector, by which disease passes into health, age into youth, death into life. Without proper care for it we can have no community, because without proper care for it we can have no life.

— Wendell Berry, The Unsettling of America

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