On Earth Day, the weather change came in with great drama, just before bedtime. All day, I watched the sky change in anticipation. By dinner time, the clouds were gathering to the south, and though it was eerily still, there was a metallic smell in the air. Finally, the lightning show began and we sat on the porch, waiting for the low pressure front to blow us into the house with wind and rain. We once had a neighbor here at the lake who claimed she saw a ball of fire move up the lake during one of our rare electric storms. Her marriage blew up in flames–after a fight we heard next door, so ferocious that anger hung in the woods between our houses for many years. But, we’ve never seen a ball of flame on the water.
Rain fell through the night, and, we smelled “that smell” for the first time this year yesterday. Rita and I usually call each other when we smell it, like we do when the first robin or lilac is spotted. The only other place I’ve encountered the unique scent was one May, when Valerie and I ran the Avenue of the Giants Marathon amongst those giant redwoods in Humboldt State Park in northern California. It’s a sweet earthy smell filled with all the yellow, white and pink blossoms scattered in the air. With rain and cool temperatures for the week ahead, it’s back to the pile of books left open and unfinished throughout the house. I’m way behind in Northern Farm, A Chronicle of Maine by Henry Beston. I left off during the month of February in the 1930’s, just as he started telling me about tapping the trees for maple syrup. And, I’m only up to the time of Chaucer in Alexandra Harris’ book, Weatherland, with all of western history yet to follow.
From back inside, I’ve been watching the fat robin who’s been on the porch for days. He sits in the nearby Aspen tree, and hops on the railing with a beak full of nice stuffing for a nest. Then, he heaves himself up to the beam which supports the roof. Four nests were under construction. Alas, it’s dangerous territory out there with our kitties underfoot, lounging on the wicker furniture, so Don swept all the nests away this morning with a broom. It was sad to see them go, after all that work.
The lake is pale mint green this early break of day with white misty clouds draped over the front of the mountains, and rain dripping off the roof. I can see the plume from the Flathead River out in the middle, as the melting snow fills the lake. Mr. Robin is on the railing, looking confused. I hope he goes back into his cozy shelter from the rain, somewhere out there in the leafy bushes, and contemplates how he simply must adapt to this change.