Tuesday, February 23, 2010


It is 32 degrees here this morning. After mostly melting off, we have a thin layer of new snow. I'm sick of snow. I'm sick of cold. I'm sick of winter.

Sometimes the smell of oncoming spring arrives early, before there are any other signs of seasonal change. Just one day, you go outside and it's there, a tantalizing hint, the musk of thawing, a pastel breeze, sensed more than actually felt. It hasn't come yet in 2010.

Last year by this time, the hyacinths, outliers of spring, were poking optimistic green noses from the snow. A few impatient riders had gotten their Harleys out, huddling over the handlebars in leather jackets and sock caps. Winter-weary fishermen were fondling their flies. Dedicated hunters were investing their walking sticks with mushroom (or, as we say in Indiana, mushroon) vibes.

I want to do nothing so ambitious and any of those. I just want to be able to sit on the front porch with a cup of coffee, my cigarettes and a book, surrounded by green. I want to see a painter's palette of color - the mauve of the red buds, the ivory-pink of Magnolias, the lemon yellow of forsythia, the scarlet of tulips and the gold of daffodils.

I want to wake up early to the music of birdsong. I want to smell the smoke of neighborhood barbeques and hear the rush of a spring-inspired Charlie Creek hustling to the river. I want to see coatless tow-headed little kids, giggling and dawdling their way to school. And boys in baseball uniforms. And older boys in pick-up trucks. I won't even complain about the way the hip-hop base line in their stereo system shakes house to its foundations.

And I won't complain at least until May about the damn garage sale signs tacked to my light pole and then forgotten when the sale is over.  Or the weeds that show up along with the flowers. Or about having to start writing a check every week or so to Nate, my lawn care guy. Or about the protected and ever-more-abundant inbred Cemetery squirrels who could eat a 50-gallon drum a birdseed a day if you provided it.

If only Mother Nature will put away her winter wardrobe of gray and white and brown and beige to don her bright new Easter finery. If only she'll turn the air conditioning down and the heat up and change the snow into soft spring rain. If only she'll brush away the leaden skies in favor of bright blue ones, dotted with cotton boll clouds.

Eventually, all those things will happen, but not today.

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