I snap awake around five, restless in the dark for day to begin. I thank God in my morning prayer that I have slept well and I hurt nowhere. I am at times short on energy. I'd prefer more get up; maybe when the weather finally improves I'll try jogging. A thought of morning coffee crosses my mind, then in the silence I hear a low tumult of windy bluster. The next few nights will be near or below zero, the days frigid. March is acting like a winter month. Spring is supposed to be somewhere close nearby, but where? I am disappointed that I am unable to find it. I'll have to investigate. I have seen a mess of slush on the roads. That's something. When yesterday afternoon Sunshine and I walked on Tuelltown, the pick-ups' passing raised a messy splatter. Best for us to walk elsewhere than this country road. Moran, the down country visitor, keeps the long driveway to his country house plowed. Coming up, he has told me, with a quick upward glance, referring to his visits as a pious man would prayer, is a cooperative family adventure: there is a she who has to have a few days off too, which may happen suddenly. At Moran's driveway Sunshine and I turned off Tuelltown and walked onto the snowmobile path through the woods near his house. The snowmobiles have packed down the snow perfectly well enough for us to walk on. Our elderly crotchets, because Sunshine and I are used to being outside a lot more than lately, slowly disappeared. Honestly, as we walked the snowmobile path through the woods, though we stop now and then to admire an especially stalwart tree, you might think of us as a pair of youthful folks, though it helps to be walking downhill. The slush splattering on Tuelltown, I think, now in the middle of the morning coffee ritual, the solid snow pack on our walking trail yesterday, those are signs of spring, are they not? Now I stare out the window over the kitchen sink. I can barely make out the agitation of the trees' upper limbs against the lightening sky. And ten degrees F. Oh Lord, we be spending Sunday indoors. I have been reading Paradise Lost—though not a sign of spring, that's a sign of a fellow with lots of time on his hands—and perhaps a chapter in the King James Version might make a good past time for a winter day. I have another daily chore, I suddenly remember: Moon has kidded out, so I have milking! And that's a sign of something, if not spring, winter's last gasp. Now what have I done in my dreaming about spring? Have I measured out four tablespoons of my secret coffee blend into the coffee mill instead of three? Instead of one I have measured two tablespoons of Starbucks Dark into the two tablespoons of Wicked Joe Bella Maria? I'd put a dash of Starbucks into anything. It is ground now. I'll have to put up with it. Another casualty of the slow non-appearance of Spring. Then there is the sun, the arctic blue, the much longer days! By six it is light out! A shred of brilliant sunlight decorates the snowbank framing my man cave's window. A glance in the wood box shows enough firewood left over for the entire day, as in the afternoon the sun fills the southern windows. By now, in a normal winter, I'd have a cord or two worked up in piles in the woods, ready to be tossed in the trusty Nissan yard truck once the snow has gone. No luck to the maple sugarers either, ancient gatherers, who have had their tubes strung out from maple to maple for two weeks now. Not a drop, yet, I imagine, and more than a few days into the season already. Cats still sleeping most of the day on the bed in the spare bedroom; dogs doing their mid-winter thing. And I am sitting on a blustery Sunday afternoon in March in the foothills of Maine dreaming about black flies and mud.
|Sunshine busy on her Sunday afternoon|