Considering my dislike for the cold, tendency to deal with SAD and passion for spring, I think I’ve done quite well with winter in recent history. Wonderful traditions like Winterfest and Chinese New Year, not to mention a small human who loves snow and wearing boots, make the season cozy and reflective rather than isolating and oppressive.
But. It’s February, and I admit to tiring of the barren and monochromatic world outside each and every window. I long for green, the sound of birds, sandals, psychedelic music, safe roads and the sight of my beloved neighbors lounging in their lush back yard (with their garden and their chiminea and their grill and their speakers pumping WYCE… *sigh*…).
Also, I finally succumbed to a nasty winter bug, and rode the roller coaster of fever, sinus pain and digestive upset that came with it.
Right this minute, as I write to you, sun is pouring on the snow outside. The slightly golden hue is fleeting, but I’m harnessing it to drift back to one of my favorite summers, and listen to Umphrey’s McGee cover a laid back tune of my childhood.
My favorite thing about Winter is Spring cleaning.
I recognize the necessary death and destruction of spent foliage and harmful microbes that the cold temperatures bring. I appreciate the sense of clean slates, quiet reflection and beauty in silence and solitude.
But I like the rebirth better. I want it sooner. Maybe I should live somewhere with a shorter Winter. Because these days, I spend
too much time
in my house, and I am
too frequently reminded
of all those projects that need doing. The foundation, the garage, the kitchen counters… all better tackled in dry, mild weather. Winter makes me feel a little
too helpless and dormant, and that’s when the demons creep in. Nasty buggers.
And this year we haven’t even gotten to say “vortex.” What is the point?
My point is in the tip of my nose, and I’m directing it toward March April May. The most beautiful time of the year.
For today, I make lists of all the little tasks Spring will hold, and count the growing days until we can again clear the air of frigid dust and shuttered windows.
A beam of light crossed my face. It is not a crooked, fresh wax (which the husband said it resembles).
On Saturday I woke up three hours earlier than usual to hang out in funny positions with strangers.
You’ve heard me talk about yoga, and I’ve already bent your ear on my love of the Grand Rapids Downtown Market. It was almost too much when I heard of a free event involving both.
The Market hosts yoga classes throughout the week in its greenhouse, banquet rooms and demonstration facilities. To make the most of the seasonal outdoor farmers’ market opening, they held an open and free session, offering attendees a great discount for future classes. I registered immediately.
It was my first time doing yoga with anyone other than my husband, mother or Iris, and, at the risk of sounding cheesy, there was energy and it was amazing. We faced a giant second floor window, and a hard rain as the class began. After an hour and 15 minutes of gently voiced instructions and soothing music, not to mention a well guided final relaxation, I was more chill than I’ve been in ages. And the sun was out.
After grabbing that discount for next time, I floated down to the first floor and stopped at a table to take it all in. Nothing but food and enthusiastic people in every direction. I bought a freshly made juice and some pitted dates. I gawked lustfully at the seafood counter and oyster bar. I experienced an affection for my city, which is trying to do something good for the food and small business culture here. Making my way to the front doors and terrace meant a great view of the outdoor market, and green park beyond. I bought a small loaf of bread. Such a beautiful way to start a Spring Saturday.
Sometimes, I really enjoy growing older, because it’s like gaining a new sense. Bliss is found in the simplest things – things that were always there, but require a certain… perception to be appreciated. Sometimes, innocence is reawakened when you thought it was long gone.
It’s Wednesday, which dictates the post be somehow related to food or health or science or something practical like that.
But I want to talk about Spring nature and toddler messes. So we’re going to call playing in alley puddles exercise. Ok? Good.
Yesterday, Iris and I spent the day at home doing the usual activities like making and eating food, reading books and listening to music that lets me pretend I’m 16. On this particular day, we were also treated to a mild thunder shower (love). That meant puddles.
Better yet, Iris has a brand spankin’ new pair of rain boots, courtesy of her Auntie Sara. I put two and two together, and made the executive decision to go puddle hunting in the alley behind our house. That made me the coolest mom in the world.
For what was probably close to an hour, I watched Iris stomp, jump and run into puddles, she all the while laughing with abandon and grinning from ear to ear. She did fall a couple of times, but seemed unhindered by her drenched pants and muddy hands. When I deemed she was as damp as she should be, I took us inside. That made me the worst mom in the world.
We enjoyed a full and busy weekend. I realized it would be best shared in pictures, and so here it is.
Of course, this wasn’t all of it – just some highlights.
That’s an evergreen tree in Seidman Park in Ada, Michigan. My friend, Sara, and I spent a lovely afternoon and evening wandering its trails, and I climbed this tree (not to a very impressive height… I need to remember that I’m not 10).
I finally got around to cleaning up and starting to prep the gardens. Every year, I rediscover a deep affection for our backyard, which was covered for so long in a deep blanket of snow.
Saturday night saw us at an Irish show featuring the New Barleycorn. The hubs, sister and I had a great time, as documented by our dear friend Juj.
After a day of everything from petting animals to my sister cleaning our kitchen sink, we went to the annual Sacred Heart Carnival, just a seven minute walk from our house. Iris enjoyed the Euro Bungee. We also hit up the carousel in the background.
Well, it’s Spring… or so they tell us. A year ago right now it was in the high 80s and I was teaching my newborn to like Roxette. Today, I’m wearing a scarf in the house and she’s napping in a hat with ear flaps. Oh well.
Still we soldier on. After the magnanimous festivities of last weekend – which was all about Iris’ first birthday and Saint Patrick’s Day, and lasted until Wednesday – I’m ready for a regular workday, a detox diet and a weekend where all I have to do is put away onsies and steam a sweet potato.
Last week I took Iris for her first spring walk in the stroller. The zoo is less than 10 minutes from our house on foot, and sits nestled at the back of lovely John Ball Park.
I got really excited when I realized that the local geese might have their goslings out. We walked around almost the entire pond before I spotted two adult geese with a flock of fluffy little goose babies. Ca-UTE!
The pudgy Hispanic boy two driveways over momentarily distracted the robin from his search. After a second’s pause, he returned his beak to the matted leaves in the gutter. There had to be a worm in there. Anything less was a waste of time. Spring was, after all, very short.
The boy, facing the street, looked backward over his shoulder, and hefted his basketball up and over his head. The ball disappeared behind him, perhaps into the net. Perhaps not.
Leaves jumped to the left and to the right as the bird picked at small sticks and wrinkled candy wrappers.
From the car, she watched all of this, while a man in LA told her the day’s economic news through the radio. It wasn’t terribly encouraging news, but the man had a nice voice.