Monday, February 9, 2009

Airing out the Trees

We're enjoying a welcome thaw here this week. Temps are in the 40s and it feels downright balmy. This winter has really lived up to its name. We've had a consistent snow cover since December, weeks of cheek-biting cold, and enough shoveling for one year. It's early yet. We could still get hit with several snowstorms between now and the "official" end of winter. But for now, we'll take what we can get.

Seizing the moment--and the relatively warm sunshine--I darted home at lunch today to let out the dogs and throw the ball to Cee Cee for a bit. It was a nice break, and I don't often go home at lunch, seeing as it can be rather hard to want to go back to work once I've gone through the mail, played with the dogs and enjoyed a sandwich--standing at the kitchen counter while eating. I think all people stand at the counter when they eat alone.

I didn't dread returning to work today, though. I simply enjoyed throwing the ball to the dog and seeing patches of grass and dirt for the first time in weeks. It's been a long winter. Not unpleasant, just long. And although I'm not a big fan of winter, I prefer a snowy one to a long, grey cold one that yields more rain than white stuff. Even so, we've had a lot of snow for one year. I'm ready to see robins again.

As I pulled out of the driveway on my way back to work, my neighbor Ed was rolling several trees out from his garage. They're fruit trees that he keeps safe in the garage throughout the winter. But on warmer days, he rolls them out for a bit of direct sun and air. They can't withstand the harsh winter, and they would surely die if they were left out in it for long. But a quick breather is okay. As he rolled them out on little dollies, he waved, and I waved back. It was nice to see the green trees, looking lucious and summery, against the muddy, grey backdrop of this week's Big Melt.

In less than six weeks, Ian and I finally tie the knot and get on with it, "it" being the post-wedding life, which I envision including many lazy days in the backyard with the kids, the dogs, some new plantings and some old toys. The countdown to this has been enjoyable, and at times very stressful, even for a simple wedding, which ours will be. The hardest moments have been in dealing with my own panic, which has nothing to do with the wedding and everything to do with how I handle stress of any kind. But the rough patches have and always will be temporary. They can temporarily endure for weeks and even months, but they're still temporary. The whole experience has taught me so much, and I was obviously ready, if not willing, for the lessons.

In my excitement for spring and all that it brings--flowers! baseball! warm days! bumblebees!--I am also grateful for winter's crawl. It has afforded me some extra game nights with the boys and time alone with each of them. This past weekend, I enjoyed a few hours out with Sean, hitting the arcade and then the bookstore, where we each picked out a few things that we read together later while sipping hot chocolate at the coffeshop. I love time alone with each of my children, one-on-one. It's something I don't get too often. I'm thrilled they have each other and that they are not only children, but sometimes I want them each to myself. Just for a while. It's always time well spent.

But winter is receding, and Spring is coming faster than we realize. Tonight I will sign up the boys for this year's little league season. Then I will pick up my wedding dress, which is ready at the tailor's. When I come home, I will look for Ed's fruit trees. I'm sure they'll be back in the garage, waiting for the day they can come out for good again, providing shelter and refuge during the warmer months, instead of seeking it.


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