Somewhere on the Edge of Spring

by J.D. Roth

These past two Sundays have been brilliant. The air is cool, but the sun is shining. Kris and I have our chores done, so we’re able to loaf around the house, basking in the warmth of the parlor. We listen to opera. She reads her book. I write. The cats come and go.

We’ve even made brave forays onto the front porch where it’s warm (11 degrees centigrade — that’s about 52 degrees Fahrenheit for those of you named Tammy) but windy. The cats love it when we’re out on the porch. We prop open the screen with a shoe, and the six of us do our thing.

Max is a little wary of all the noise. He loved being outside when he lived at Custom Box, but it was quiet there. Here there are all sorts of nasty sounds, especially the barking of dogs. He hates the barking of dogs. But the sound of power equipment in the neighbor’s back yard doesn’t please him, either, nor do the chimes jingling in the wind. Or the cars surging by on the street. Or the planes overhead. He’d prefer things were quieter.

Simon, meanwhile, sits on the bottom step, surveying his kingdom. For truly, he is the ruler here. We are all his subjects. He looks from the street to the garden to the grapes. He looks up at us. “You need to plant the peas,” he seems to say. “Remember how if you don’t plant the peas by mid-February you regret it?” But I ignore him.

Nemo fidgets. He cannot sit still. And Toto sits on a chair, growling occasionally when one of us ventures too close.

Yes, the cold of the winter has passed us by, and we’ve now entered that strange period of time just before the coming of meteorological spring. In Oregon this means rain, of course, though not so much this year. (We’re way behind on our rainfall totals again.)

Kris and I have begun to make half-hearted efforts at yardwork. I mowed the lawn a couple weeks ago. I cut back my grapes last week. Today I gathered up fallen limbs from the winter windstorms. Next weekend Jenn will stop by with Jeremy’s dad. In exchange for some branches of flowering quince (one of the first things to bloom here), they’ll show us how to prune our fruit trees. Next weekend Kris will also prune the roses.

The camellias are all on the verge of bloom: they’re covered with hundreds of tight little buds which will explode at any moment.

A sunny Sunday in February is a very fine thing.

And later this afternoon we’ll pick ourselves up and become a flurry of motion. Tonight we’re hosting the MNF group for our annual Ham Feast. It’ll be an evening of sociability and fun.

Updated: 12 February 2007

Do what's right. Do your best. Accept the outcome.
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