I haven't done the ol' "5 Things" blog posting in a while, and I've got what must be the most wretched sinus infection in all of Bruce County at the moment, so I think now is a perfect time to revive the 5 Things medium. It's quick and dirty, and still gets the point across. Plus a few readers wanted to read some springy stuff. And really, with April throwing snow at us and laughing, who doesn't want to read about spring?
Before I begin, may I just interject that I feel SO FREAKING MUCH BETTER than I did a month ago? I go around muttering prayers of thanks every thirty minutes to the powers that be. They're usually scattered thoughts having to do with the smell of coffee, the ability to wrestle and giggle with my feral children, feeling strength return to my legs as I hike the trails, watching my fingers slowly inch back to the keyboard and pen. I'm feeling the gratitude, big time.
As my kissin' cuz S mentioned the other day, there is a hum of eternal hope in the air this time of year. Sometimes you have to stop and listen for it; pause in the middle of crazy life to sniff the air, feel the sun on your face, realize the ground is squishy instead of frozen. I have dear friends whose cups are full of sorrow and pain right now, and spring isn't the usual mess of happy beginnings it should be for them. My wish is that they'll find flickers of hope returning as the snow melts and the flowers bloom.
So here's to spring, to healing, and to those inevitable 5 Things.
1. The Birds Are Gonna Getcha
All that early morning cawing and chirping and squabbling outside my bedroom window can mean only one thing: nature's answer to the Kardashians has returned to Someday. First to arrive are the delightfully cliquy redpolls, who flutter around en masse looking adorable in their little red hats and can gobble an entire bird-feeder's worth of seed in three hours. Apparently redpolls hang out in Alaska, so when this bird comes to your doorstep when it's minus 5 because it's looking to warm up, you know spring isn't far behind. The doofuses of the bird world, those confused looking robins who always seem to show up just in time for a nice shower of freezing rain, are here too. I see them shivering in the tree branches and looking aimlessly for worms that are too smart to be moving in the earth yet. Best of all, I've seen flocks of swans flying overhead like graceful ghosts, and covering bare fields in a white that's brighter than snow. Those hardy darlings are all the proof I need that winter is on its way out of town.
2. Muddy Muddy Mudskipper
I don’t remember doing battle with mud in the city during springtime the way I do up here. Apart from a few messy walks in the park with Neko, my car and floors remained relatively goop free. Then again, there were a lot of concrete alternatives to squishy lawns in Waterloo, and I didn’t have two small children who liked to dance in every brown puddle they saw.
With the return of sunshine and warm air to Someday comes the melting of previously frosted lawns and fields and gravel lanes, which morph into pools of brown, sticky sludge. You get coated in the stuff up to your ankles when you step out of the car or off the safety of the front walk. Even our paved driveway has been sliced open along its sides (courtesy of well-meaning snowploughs and delivery trucks) to reveal giant troughs of muddy water that lure my son like a siren does a sailor. And don’t get me started on the state of the barnyard and my in-law’s long, potholed, mud-soaked lane way. It reminds me of the roads in Russia: not fun.
The state of my car, not to mention my pant legs, mittens, boots and shoes, is equally unfun. Hiking the trails means risking multiple slides into muddy pitfalls and going to the park with the kids is a load of laundry waiting to happen.
Still, if mud = spring, then hooray for mud! Pretty soon the sun will dry everything up and I'll be praying for rain.
3) Walk toward the light...
We don’t have curtains in our bedroom, which most people find strange. It’s just that D and I spent so many hours sanding, staining and varnishing the wooden trim around the windows that when the house was finished, we couldn’t bear to have our beautiful trim hidden behind swaths of material. My side of the bed faces East, which, in the winter, isn’t a problem. I wake up to see birdies flitting around the ash tree and the dull, grey dawn crawling over the horizon. Spring forward into daylight savings time, though, and the dull grey dawn becomes a rosy glow, which quickly transforms into a laser beam that pierces my closed eyelids at 6 a.m. D, of course, loves it.
Then there are the indignant cries of my children at night when bedtime rolls around. “It’s not bedtime yet! It’s not darkie time yet! There’s still sun! WAHHHH!” goes the pathetic refrain. Unfortunately, their bedroom window faces West, which means they get every last gleam of sunshine across their faces as I attempt to convince them it's night time. Blackout curtains may be in their future.
The lengthening of days does make me smile around six o’clock each evening. As I putter around the kitchen making supper, the gorgeous glow of the sunset spreads across the barn, the apple trees and fields, slow as melted butter, drenching everything in hues of gold and cherry. It’s such a gift to have enough light at the end of the day to go for a walk with the kidlets before bedtime, and to see my husband come home without having to turn on his headlights. I guess I can forgive the early sunrise since the late sunset affords us these little pleasures. Although I may ask for a sleep mask for my birthday...
4. A wafer-thin crack...
D and I argue about many things: the state of chaos inside my car; the number of times he does chores; the fact that I never finish a full cup of anything; the benefits of cinnamon. All relatively harmless arguments, likely destined to spiral endlessly throughout our marriage. And the argument that tops all arguments, the one that will always resurface every spring for as long as we share a roof together, is open windows.
My father keeps several windows open in his cabin year round, regardless of whether it’s minus 20 or sweltering outside. Nana was the same way: I remember she’d have the air conditioning on, the bedroom windows open and a warmed up electric blanket for me whenever I slept over in the summer. They both believe that fresh air trumps any concerns about wasting electricity, or, as D sarcastically puts it, “killing the environment by heating North America.”
I know it’s spring when I can sneakily crack our bedroom window open and leave it that way all night without watching my perpetually chilly spouse do an exaggerated body shiver at bedtime while saying, “Geez, it’s cold in here. Is there a window open somewhere?” I’ve had our bedroom window open for two weeks now, and until he gets around to reading this blog (sometime in May, probably), D won’t even notice. By then, it should be warm enough to prevent his annual “I thought you were a Greenpeacer” open window rant.
I take comfort in the recent discovery that D’s mother and father are locked in a similar battle over their own bedroom window. She cracks it open, he slams it shut. It’s nice to know that my husband’s resistance to fresh air is hereditary, rather than a fit of pure marital cussedness.
5. Dirty fingernails
In the fall, I have the urge to collect and hoard. In the spring, my urges take a different direction: digging in the dirt. I might go outside to get something from the car, then suddenly I’m tearing dead grass out of the flower gardens by the back door, clearing spaces so the tulips can breathe, plucking dead stalks off the lambs' ears. My eyes greedily scout out new places for the golden climbing roses I intend to plant, and I hunt for the first snowdrops and crocuses in the south corner of the house. Then I come to my senses and wander back into the house, where it’s difficult to explain to the kids why Mummy has filthy hands and whatever she was supposed to get from the car is still out there.
Happy spring, everyone!