in the meantime

Stepping outside this morning, my breath froze in fifteen degrees. The street was quiet, the sidewalk patched with sand and slush, the front lawns still laced with snow. Even so, it felt a little like spring somehow. The sun beat my shoulders through a sweater and down coat and I could hear in the trees little birds flitting and chirping—the robins, the cardinals, the chickadees.

When Nellie and I reached the fields I let her off of the leash and she led me across the frosty tundra. We were alone, it seemed, but for the pileated woodpecker’s staccato echo coming from somewhere in the woods. I stood at the edge of the trees at the mouth of a snowy path, listening.

Lately, I’ve been bemoaning my inability to come and go as I please, what with Calvin on school break and no help from a nurse, in the face of some wildly windy days with subfreezing temps, sleepless nights, viruses and seizures. I see and hear reports of people’s travels to places far away—the Caribbean, Africa, Europe, Asia—and I wonder if I’ll ever be free to visit those places again. Standing at the forest’s edge I pause, grateful that at least I had the opportunity and gumption to travel extensively in my youth. Some people don't.

This sense of spring in the air gives me a hankering to work the earth, to prune and mulch and dig and plant. The feeling made me realize that I’ve got a lot to be thankful for right here in my little corner of the world. I’ve got an uber-cozy home, a stellar husband, extraordinary friends, a couple of decent hangouts, good food, good health and health care, a fantastic dog and a most loving turkey of a kid. I’ve even figured out, I think, how to reduce his seizures a bit.

I also have my writing. And putting my thoughts and feelings down on paper, and with the prospect of soon being able to get my hands into the dirt, I can forego exotic trips, at least for now.

In the meantime, I’ll hang out at home, traipse around after Calvin shielding him, with my body and flattened cardboard boxes, from staring at the sun, have friends over for coffee or wine, and watch Calvin explore them as if he were blind—oh, that’s right, he is legally blind! I’ll watch my movies and sip my bourbon and look outside at the plants as they bask in the sun and think about which ones I’m going to move and ponder a long overdue trip to San Francisco where things are blooming now, and maybe, someday, a trip to Jamaica with Michael and Calvin (cannabis is legal there). I’ll sit and watch the wind move through the pines. I’ll work my words. Watch students go by. I’ll meet new friends, bake cookies, light candles, hang out with Woody over shots of whiskey on ice and wait eagerly for my husband to come home from work.

Calvin with his buddy Uncle John

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