Hidden spring

Hidden spring

The internet’s serving up photos of crocuses and daffodils. I hear tell of apple and pear blossoms, kids and lambs, and Easter egg hunts.

Around here, spring seems reluctant. There’s tell-tale mud, to be sure. But there’s still snow. And nothing is blooming.

When I look up into the trees, they look as quiet and empty as the winter that’s just passed.

But just because we can’t see something happening, doesn’t mean it isn’t.

Spring

There’s a thaw beneath the fallen snow
And the geese don’t know which way to go
There’s a warm wind blowin’ round the bend
And the days are growin’ long again

And I will go down by the river
And wash the cold away
And gaze across the water all day

There’s a bird rehearsing on a wire
And a soft green underneath the briar
There’s a hazy ring around the moon
And the rains of spring are comin’ soon

–Cheryl Wheeler, from “Spring“, 1997

Denial is an ocean

One of hundreds

I’ve heard the reports. Negative abysmal temperatures again tonight. Let’s just pretend, shall we?

Let’s say we’re in that cottage by the ocean. You know the place. We’ve just unloaded the car and are hurriedly running around to see what’s changed since last year, claiming bedrooms, putting the sheets we’d packed only hours ago onto welcoming beds, pulling back the curtains.

Then running out the door (let that screen door slam) and down the sandy path to the dune above the beach. It’s late and getting dark, but we can still see enough to see how steep the slope is. Kick off those shoes. They’re safe. Unleash the dog. He knows the way. Hit the sand with our bare feet and it feels cold, but not enough to stop us.

Let gravity pull us down that dune. Let the ocean pull us across the high tide line of wrack, driftwood, charred wood from someone else’s beach fire.

Look! The sun’s just setting and the gulls are quieting. Is that a seal or a wave? Too dark to tell.

The dog’s already ankle-deep in foam. The ocean’s laughing. The waves are kicking up a fuss, reaching and receding, frizzling and falling over itself in excitement that we’re finally here.

Everyone else is leaving; they must have dinner plans. But we? We have potato chips and hot chocolate in the cottage, and we’ll get to that by-and-by. We have all the time in the world.

Who we met at the cat show

Reach

Last weekend we went up to Burlington to visit the annual cat show they put on there, something we’ve been meaning to do for years for H’s sake. It’s silly how long it can take us to get around to something we all agree we want to do. Imagine how long it takes us to do the things we must (but don’t want) to do.

The cat show took place in a large meeting room in a hotel. There were rows of benches (tables) with various sizes of cat carriers and cages. On one end of the room were the “rings,” which were u-shaped areas bordered by cages with a judge’s table in front.

Cat owners ferried their charges from the bench cages to the ring cages as their numbers were called for each judging class. Then judges took each cat in turn out of its cage, put it on the table, handled it, watched it move, put it back in its cage, and wrote the cat’s score in a notebook. After the judge had handled each cat in the class, ribbons were bestowed and owners returned their cats to the benches.

So, no agility stunts or running the cats around the rings with leashes like at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show, but if you got a seat up front you could get a good look at some beautiful cats, and you could wander the benches and talk to the owners, who were all exceedingly enthusiastic about their breeds of choice.

Some highlights of our day:

Seeing with our own eyes that our Abyssinian is not the only one who likes to act up.

Typical

Getting a chance to see just how large and gorgeous Norwegian Forest Cats are.

Norwegian Forest Cat

Norwegian Forest Cat

Seeing cats of all spots, stripes, colors, fur lengths, and body shapes.

Sphynx

Watching

Burmilla

Abyssinian

Meditating

Spots

And meeting Zelda, a beautiful young cousin of our very own Singapura, Oyster.

Zelda

Till it shines

General fog

On a wire

A prettiness

We got the call at 5.30 this morning: Wintry mix. Dangerous roads. Two-hour school delay. Oh heaven, back to bed.

Ever since, though, I’ve been out of sync with the day. The sun rose, but you’d never know it for the fog. I ate my breakfast at 10 and still haven’t had my lunch at 4. I keep waiting for the day to start and here it is, dusk, and there’s dinner to be figured out.

Work was frustrating in an insignificant way. The fires never felt warm enough. My progress on my holiday to-do lists is abysmal. (You weren’t expecting cards from me, were you?)

When I went out to see the goats they seem untroubled, cozy in their run-in. It smelled good-and-goaty in a good way. I hugged Willow and she closed her eyes and if you could hear a goat hum with happiness, that’s the sound I felt. Bright goat eyes all around when I fed them cookies.

Everything outside was grey, yet somehow sparkling. Drips of ice had melted to water and were clinging to branches, the snow’s pebbled surface, the electric wire on the goat fence, the rose hips. A million reflections of a reluctant sun gathered up into a shimmer.

I walked back to the house to bring in another load of firewood, singing under my breath, Take the chip off of my shoulder, smooth out all the lines. Take me out among the rustling pines, till it shines.

Everything shines