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I'm melting! I'm melting! If you listened carefully, did you hear that this week coming from our streets and sidewalks and yards? The nasty stuff was everywhere. White or brown, or even worse: yellow. I'm glad to see it go, even just for now. The piles.
I'm good with the seasons, one of the things I love about living in northern Indiana: Seasons. About the time I am sick of the cold, wet, slushiness, along comes that fresh breath of Spring with its hopeful sunshine, crocus and thoughts of the earth to come. My little girls and I eat our breakfast on our tiny front porch every chance we get as it warms. Still in our pjs, covered with blankets and robes against the chill in the air, we we dine alfresco! After breakfast we wander around the front or back yard in our wellies. We admire the mud, we try to decide if the green shoots are weeds or some kind of lovely plant. We decide it is most likely weeds. We leave the poor thing alone and wander on. We look at our grass, the bird feeders, the birdbaths. We may consider doing a bit of yard work as we wander but most likely we won't. Our mornings are lazy and it is difficult to pull weeds or tidy a yard with a coffee cup in hand.
Soon it becomes hot. Misty wet hot, or dry warmth, and I love basking in the sunshine. Once again, we are breakfasting on the tiny porch. When the three of us are sitting there is barely enough room to let the dog inside, or outside for that matter. Tiny. Porch. I have too much furniture for the 20 square foot space: A red metal vintage battleship of a glider couch . One adult clamshell chair in scarlet red. Two children's chairs, one also a scarlet clamshell style, another a red rocker we rescued from a neighbors trash pile. We spend our summer mornings out there on the tiny porch but then hurry inside to the cool air-conditioning. Occasionally we wander through the yard and admire the weeds and occasional flower. If I've stashed the gardening gloves and a trowel on the porch, I may pull a few weeds. Most likely I'll will wander about with my coffee cup looking but not tending that garden. Those weeds. Sometimes we go to spend our day at the lake where it is cooler. Other days we sit in our little back yard on the patio. I sit in shade or sun as is my mood that day. The girls play in the yard and I can see them in the sandbox or falling off of bikes or balls or the hammock. Sweat pools in places I'd rather not mention.
Just as I am so very tired of sweating, of feeling lazy in the heat. Of sand everywhere even if we haven't gone to the lake yet that week. The air cools and shifts and it is different. The air even smells business like and leaves die and fall and I love it. Shuffling through the brown and gold leaves on the sidewalk makes such a scraping shushing sound it can feel deafening. The start of school and darkening of days reminds all of us to get serious. We spend fewer mornings on the tiny porch. Instead there is oatmeal for breakfast, too sloppy to eat in our laps and so we are inside, at the dinner table. If I walk through the yard or garden it is to go somewhere else. I'll wind up a hose, perhaps. Maybe I will refill a bird feeder. I'll gaze at the weeds and promise them...."Next year!"
And then it gets colder still. The first precious snow falls and I love that. I love it even more watching my girls love it. I frisk about between the car and the garage. If feel annoyed and intruded upon when snow encroaches on my tiny porch. Maybe I forgot to put the last clamshell chair in the garage for the season. There is dirt and snow on it and I feel sad.
When we do spend actual time outside, there are layers. So many layers and when we drive in the snow we are so very careful. We slip and slide and fall when walking in it. Me because I am clumsy, the little girls because they are naive to the ways of snow and ice.
Little Libby tries snow angels...but face down. I cannot help her up because I am laughing so hard I am crying. Later, we try hitching our huge dog named Steve to the girls' sled. He pulls them like the Shephard Husky Mastiff he is and even the neighbor kids get rides. All through the blizzardy winter he pulls little children amidst peals of laughter.
Then more snow. Piles, weather reports and school closings. Cold. Brittle painful cold. And just as I am tired of it, my friend Tess tells my little girls this story: "Everyone was complaining about the snow this morning, I felt grumbly about it until I looked around and saw it glittering! God gave me all this beautiful sparkling snow! I found it so beautiful, and I felt like a Fairy Snow Princess!" I smile at her sweetness, the joy and energy she has in telling her little story to my little people. Later that day, and the next and the next I too admire the glittering beauty and feel like a Fairy Snow Princess. I decide to be grateful for the beauty of it. I am grateful for our warm home, warm food and warm clothes.
And yet. I'm glad to see the snow melting too. The dirty snow, the yellow snow, the icy snow. I look forward to mornings on our tiny porch, wandering the garden and ignoring the weeds. I drink coffee at the dinner table and I dream of the coming seasons.