The North Wind
The North Wind doth blow,
And we shall have snow,
And what will the robin do then?
He will sit in a barn,
And keep himself warm
And hide his head under his wing.
April finished off in lashing rains, snow, and ferocious winds. We were in charge of the Billings grandkids this past week-end, with the parents off to sunny San Diego. I drove over on Thursday, and Don stopped in Missoula on his way, so he could watch Fletcher’s tennis tournament Friday and Saturday. There were fits and starts of the matches as high winds and pelting rains stopped play. Over in Billings, Anna’s soccer tournament started out on Saturday quite cold, but sunshine blessed us. By Sunday afternoon’s final championship game, the airport reported gale force winds of 57.6 mph, 36 degrees, and snow clouds approached from the northwest. Joy keeps a trunkload of soccer-watching gear in her car, so we were as prepared as we could be. The sport tent/umbrella would have blown away in the wind, but we had these hideous sleeping bags with arm holes, which were surprisingly amazing. (Don would not let me publish the photograph of him in the camo-bag). Just as the game got underway, Duncan texted me that the upstairs bathroom window had blown out, but the glass hadn’t broken. I told him to just shut the door and we’d deal with it when we got back. Out on the open fields, the wind roared through tall leafless cottonwood trees, and the loud freight trains nearby made the air feel dangerous and electrically charged. Maybe it was just those final ten minutes, while Anna relentlessly defended the goal, fending off corner kicks and a heart-stopping penalty kick. By the time she joyously ran across the field to our hugs, the port-o-potties had blown over and trash cans were rolling across the now-empty pitch.
It was good to get back to the warm house for my chicken soup supper, with extra noodles. Don repaired the window in Duncan’s bathroom. Fletcher had arrived home late Saturday night, after a seven hour bus ride in driving rain, and said he had never been so cold in his life at the tournament. We all toasted Anna for the championship win, and regaled the boys with tales of her daring saves and repeated blows to the face in front of the net. Oh, it was good to have these little robins of mine safely back in the barn!
Today is May Day, that cross-quarter day where we are halfway from the spring equinox to the summer solstice. On Monday’s drive home across the state, the lakes through the Seeley-Swan Valley were finally free of ice–just ten days before, on another cross-state trip I’d made to Bozeman– they were still frozen. It’s cold and blustery here, but definitely greener. The lake level is rising, and the last snow bank up by the garage disappeared yesterday. We are just touching down here at home for a few days, then fly off to the California families, for a week of birthdays, baseball, and the finale of a school play which Norah has worked on for her entire school year. Like the whiplash of unusual and unexpected changes in the weather, this coming and going, here and there, leaves me somewhat disoriented, but I understand how important this season is in my life. It will not be like this forever. Especially with grandkids who’ve hatched into teen-agers, every time there is a point of contact–a spontaneous hug on the soccer field; a kitchen conversation about being away at college; or sitting next to one another and comparing favorite artists’ websites on our phones–these are moments that are as fleeting as a butterfly skimming over a petal, and very much that luminous.
The Merry Month of May has arrived. The lilacs are but a month away, and I’m about to become another year older, feeling quite lucky, actually, for more time to chart the weather, and all my changing seasons.
To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring. George Santayana