“Spring was moving in the air above and in the earth below and around him, penetrating even his dark and lowly little house with its spirit of divine discontent and longing.”
― Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows
March begins tomorrow. Month by month, we’ve gone through a full year with Covid-19. When I look back at my photos from over this past year, I’m overcome with sadness about how hard it’s been, how this collective grief has been so exhausting. Although thousands are getting vaccinated each day, and Covid numbers overall appear to be rapidly improving, I swear I’ve shed as many tears this past week as I did back in the beginning. In just five weeks, Don and I will have had both shots, and I guess we’ll be safe to move out of isolation, without fearing Covid will kill us. We start talking about what we might do, but I just freeze in my tracks. Somebody wrote the other day that emerging out of this is likely to feel like when you’ve come out of a movie theatre mid-day, and are totally blinded by the harsh sunlight. It’s going to take some time.
The weather this last week of February has been very March-like, though on this morning’s walk, there was an especially hard and bitter wind, with snow swirling across the road. Each day, snow showers and sun showers have alternated with one another and the high temperature hovered around 35 degrees. A large flock of coots are hanging out on the water, close to the shoreline. As the waves roll in, they move up and down with the swells, and bunch tightly together when an eagle is in the neighborhood. They remind me of the videos I’ve watched of those amazing starling murmurations. In perfect harmony, the compacted flock rapidly moves across the water, to the right, to the left, back to the right, as the Bald Eagle swoops low over them, his talons nearly skimming the water. I’m often at the window, hoping that none of the dark birds at the edges gets scooped up into the sky. Don reminds me that eagles have to eat, too, but when there are four at once, swooping through our trees to hover over the water, their broad wings flat like a board, flanking the flock on all sides, I go out on the porch and make my presence known.
Snow still covers the ground, but we’ve heard the male blackbirds in the past few days, and the robins can’t be far behind. The sky often has big patches of that unique cerulean blue of springtime, and enormous towering white clouds, with intermittent squalls of snow which sweep across the lake. Watching out the window in bright sunlight yesterday afternoon, big snow flakes swirled around, and it looked like summer’s shedding of the cottonwood trees. Our weather forecast is calling for warming temperatures in the upcoming week, with 50 degrees come Friday. That’s hard to believe, but, I would guess the block of ice covering our road will melt. The spring, flowing down from the mountains east of us, is already revealing dirt at the edges. Bit by tiny bit, a new season is moving in, and this hard winter will soon be behind us. I’m looking forward to dusting myself off, taking a breath of new clear air, and moving on to the brighter days which are waiting for us.
Everything is Waiting for you, by David Whyte
Your great mistake is to act the drama
as if you were alone. As if life
were a progressive and cunning crime
with no witness to the tiny hidden
transgressions. To feel abandoned is to deny
the intimacy of your surroundings. Surely,
even you, at times, have felt the grand array;
the swelling presence, and the chorus, crowding
out your solo voice. You must note
the way the soap dish enables you,
or the window latch grants you freedom.
Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity.
The stairs are your mentor of things
to come, the doors have always been there
to frighten you and invite you,
and the tiny speaker in the phone
is your dream-ladder to divinity.
Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into the
conversation. The kettle is singing
even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots
have left their arrogant aloofness and
seen the good in you at last. All the birds
and creatures of the world are unutterably
themselves. Everything is waiting for you.