First there was sunshine, spreading warmth with rich generosity
then there was a puddle, not too deep, beneath a spreading willow tree.
Then the clients swooped in like a —well, exactly like a flock of excitable Redpolls.
The spa rotation was simple and chaotic:
– pre-warming on willow branch of choice (loosen up with wing stretches)
– puddle-time (include frenzied wriggling, splashing, dipping for optimum benefits)
– post-warming on willow branch again (perfect for extensive deep-preening, fluffing, feather-setting)
Rotate. Rotate again and again and again
until every speck of cold and dark and winter is cleaned from every feather
until every drudgery of the day is bathed in utter delight.
A Saturday Caesura
Working at home under self-isolation guidelines made for a quiet week. No bells. No hallway bedlam. No whispery undercurrent while I’m expounding the rules of subject-verb agreement. No bursts of laughter. No heated discussions. Just the ding dings of incoming mail and messages, my own voice the clatter of a Chromebook keypad.
Into this world of disrupted sound, I pause to listen. A train bellows its warnings (always 4 times). The neighbour’s broken-muffler car rumbles my sleep. Coyotes yelp at nothing and everything. Birds flutter and gossip at the feeder; geese honk on-the-wing. Water drip drips from the eaves, a gentle affront to the freezing silence of winter.
Into this percussion of life beyond isolation, I pause to play my piano (2 times), and the notes falter and trip, having endured their own long season of winter. My fingers search for a voice frozen by grief, hurt, discouragement. It’s a soft voice, hardly more than a pianissimo drip drip, but it is there and maybe spring will thaw this silence, too.
A Saturday Caesura
Who knew that Caesura would suddenly gather its relatives both near and far and commandeer our news, our conversations, our ways of living: closed cancelled postponed distanced isolated quarantined. A giant pause button, pandemic-induced.
So much has changed since last Saturday.
But not everything.
Spring was not cancelled and arrived in typical northern prairie fashion. Which is to say that the trees are as bare as they have been since forever ago and snow still congregates en masse along roads, on rooftops, on our woodpile, and throughout our yard. Congregating is a wishful word in a coronavirus world.
Inklings of spring are here though if I look beyond first appearances. Chipping sparrows and red polls are more prolific at the feeder. Chickadee chatter has distinct mating overtones. Pussy willows poke their tousled heads out to test the weather. The sun, as brilliant as ever on a clear day, extends its daily visits and snuggles into nooks and crannies with warm delight.
I need spring. I need to notice it in all of its nuanced arrival. Noticing keeps me anchored in the deeper rhythms of life during a time of unprecedented helter-skelter anxiety and uncertainty. I need to pay attention to the sun that still rises every day. To the snow that melts and refreezes, melts and refreezes, melts, melts, melts…mud. To the trees that will yet bud and grass that will turn up and turn green.
I need Spring to remind me that there are deeper rhythms of love and grace and kindness and joy and lament and worship and goodness that are still here, must still be here when the season of pandemic has released its wintery grip of isolation.
🌿Green sprinkled like pixie dust
stark skeleton branches
now lush and full with
that the dead of winter
still cradles life.
🌳The trees are gushing green and I can’t stop gawking at them. Is it a northern thing to consciously count Weeks of Leaves?
We’re on Week Five.
🌱The seeds I tucked into garden soil two weeks ago have all died and come to life again.
Saskatoon bushes and choke cherry trees have bloomed, liberally wafted their perfume, and are now settled into the slow labour of fruit-making.
🌿A few years ago, I carved out a home for a solitary fern under the sprawling diamond willow near the back corner of the yard. I envisioned a whole forest of fronds reaching upward to provide moral support to the sagging and aging willow.
Every spring since, I’ve had to poke around to find my little friend and then sigh with relief when it finally uncurls its fiddleheads to let me know it survived winter cold and spring flood.
But this spring? Oh my!
My fern is now part of a village and there is just something about all that wavy lacy fresh green contrasted against gnarly wrinkly grey-brown bark that makes me love both the ferns and the willow. They make each other that much more.
Maybe we people could let some of our differences do the same. Maybe.
🌻Last night, after a day of yard work and other such Saturday doings, we decided to treat ourselves to MacDonalds $1 ice cream cones and then we (as in my husband) needed to go to Home Depot and of course I said he could find me in the Garden Centre when he was done.
And oh my!
There is just something about the cacophony of colour with so many flowers and the evening sun touching them just right and setting them all alight.
So I just wandered and drank it all in and breathed gratitude for colour and beauty and flowers and trees and ferns and life and love and grace.
When it’s threatening snow in April
and you need to find all the
like daffodil sprouts defying
and rotten trees that crashed
and crackling in the wood stove
of leftover chicken was actually
and there are friends to meet for
and your mind races and leaps with
that would make a list too long for
so you just breathe thank you and go
Winter’s plug is pulled
water flows and overflows
animating ditches, culverts, creeks.
How the landscape of our world
if we pulled the plug
on wintery wastelands
of hatred, jealousy, pride
flow and fill and overflow
animating forgiveness, kindness, grace.