Sunday, March 28, 2010

Storm Warnings.

Tornadoes south and west of here. Severe thunderstorms, too. 2740Xers, keep an eye on them southwest-facing windows. Maybe cut a radio on. Whatever's coming through is stronger than what was forecast.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Little Day.

See, I feel like that was a day. Chilly morning, not so much for March, but for what we'd been having, and a little fire in the stove out back to ward of what needed warding. First morning in the outbuilding for a long time—turns out if you spend all winter half-building yourself a shed to write in, you might feel better if, come spring, you actually keep making that little walk.

The temps are dropping off pretty quickly out there, down through the forties, enough to make a body forget the evening spent on the back porch sunburning one's face and reading Ron Carlson's so-far impenetrable and yet so-far somehow fabulous anyway Five Skies. And here it is midnight, or thereabouts. Seems like it was just six in the evening. Seems like it was just mid-February.

Another rotogravure day on tap for tomorrow, when we're expected to see highs back near seventy and bright sun. All that green grass out there is changing the quality of the light in a way I feel like I remember. Dear sweet baby Jesus in a grass-green velour hoodie I do like spring.

Monday, March 22, 2010

March Showers.

Here is how bad it's gotten at the forecast: I missed the equinox. It was either yesterday or the day before, and here's how bad it really is: I'm not going to look it up to see which it was. All we can know is that it's come and gone and that we sit, though cooler today than yesterday, and with cooler temperatures still coming tonight and tomorrow night, firmly on the front edge of spring. Tulips coming up everywhere. Daffodils in bloom. Dandelions, even. A new cherry tree in the ground, the product of a Saturday excursion to the shrub nursery. Firewood restacked and tarped over. A set of house finches in the brand-new prison-farm right-hand fern; a pair of something brown (chickadees? I need the bird book) in the left-hand fern. Mockingbirds nesting across the street, jays somewhere over our house. Everybody building and laying in.

A couple of sets of showers came through overnight. Windows open upstairs for the first time this year. When the wind and rain woke me up at fiveish this morning, I was a happy boy. Meanwhile, back in the present moment, something having to do with a full-sized crane is afoot over at the church, and it's breezy and sunny and coolish, which means it's time to quit all this and leash up the dog and head out to see what there is to be seen. If it's big and it beeps, I have to go see it.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Spring Break.

Alright, friends and fans of weather, let's take stock of what we've got, where we are: it's nice enough outside to bring a tear to the eye. The windows are open in the house. The dog is walked. Certain, though not nearly all, of those things that bloom are blooming. I've got me a brand-new record album to listen to. I did the dishes, which feels nearly like an accomplishment. I am institutionally allowed to stay home from the puppet show for one full week. I have an idea about going out to sit on the porch. Perhaps with a beer.

Supposed to be nicer still tomorrow. Much more of this and I'll have to cut a finger just to make sure I still bleed.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


I don't know for sure that I've ever slept so badly as I'm sleeping now, or felt so generally unrested: the things to do, to be done, pile up at the doorways, on the porch, drift to the windowsills. A baby coming, for Cantore's sake. A novel coming. Things to do in the shed. Things to do in the nursery. Trees to be planted out back and out front before the baby comes. Coats of paint on the trim here and there. Loose doorknobs. Wiring projects. The countless things I can't think of now that I'll think of at four a.m. when I wake out of a dream featuring me being married to one of my brothers and having as a child the other one.

We're calling her Edward. Edward James Olmos. We don't know the sex.

And yet, friends and fans of midwest flooding, we here in the south have turned, if not for good, at least for now, to spring. It is spring according to almost any casual measure: beds of blooming daffodils outside the arts building at the puppet show, beds of blooming daffodils outside the shed here at the satellite campus of the puppet show. Maybe that's only one casual measure. Step outside. Invent your own. The pansies, all but dormant all this winter, are now blooming. The yards are greening up and down the block. The trees are right and right on the edge. The wind smells like something else. Today, on campus, the certain and only smell of cut grass and gasoline.

Edward, my dear daughter, one spring your father lost his mind. Worked at it. Forgot, for long stretches, that most basic of things: to write down what the weather had been that day. Today it was warm, but not fully warm. I never saw a thermometer. I'm going to say low-to-mid sixties. I'm going to say sun and clouds. I'm going to say that if it rains overnight, I won't be stunned. I'm going to say that I've seen the forecast, sweetheart, and though all else seems impossible to understand or predict, for the next couple of days, anyway, it's going to be so nice out there that we might maybe just from time to time forget all the rest of all this.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sprung Forward.

Been away. Again. There's been weather. The yard greened over. Overnight. Bulbs coming. Tulips everywhere. Daffodils. The fence daffodils are blooming already. Trees all budded out. It was light at 7 p.m. This is nothing other than us moving the clocks around, but I'll take it. More tomorrow, people. Friends. Fans of weather. Fans of spring. Of complete sentences. Of anything written down at all.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Fiercely Springlike.

I am front porched instead of doing the homework I'm meant to be doing—just can't quite take it today, which is nice, because the weather's too good to do much of anything other than what I'm doing now, which is drinking what's left of the coffee and listening the church chime eleven. Soon enough the tinies will be out in the playground screaming and wheeling around. Soon enough I'll have to go to school. There's a crow the size of the dog out in the street by the trash cans. Any other bird you can think of is in any other tree you can name. The maple in the downhill mouse's front yard is blooming red. The tulips I thought I'd frozen on the floorboard of the truck are coming up around our dying dogwood. Half the Christmas lights are still wound around half the porch. God, I'm ready for this.

Weather coming in later on in the week. Whatever it is that's making tornadoes in Oklahoma has intentions of making calmer storms here, but storms all the same. We'll see, I guess, just how watertight that little building is, how French-drainy the French drain. We've had storms since I put it in, and hard rain, even. Just no thunderstorms yet.

It feels like I don't know what to tell you about almost anything, that all I know how to do is sit still in these few minutes before the rest of the day rears up. The rest of the week. The rest of the month. I've been having trouble finding calm, finding quiet. Mornings like this morning can't do anything, though, but help.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Yard Work.

Spent the Saturday afternoon hours in the yard, in the sun, and the dog spent those hours alternately in the sun and then, when she was sufficiently heated, up on the porch in the shade, overseeing the operation, which was the cutting back of the liriope, the dethatching of the daylilies, the trimming to the quick of the freeze-killed or near-killed Dusty Miller. We'll see if it comes back. It could come back. It'll probably come back. I've never seen Dusty Miller look so bad, though, which ought to tell you how our USDA Zone-7 winter went this year, which is to say, less Zone-7 than normal. And it's not over. Don't let this upcoming run of sixties fool you. Remember that March will show you new and different ways to break your heart, will soon enough send you running to the budded-out azaleas, frost-proofing bedsheets in hand.

Still: because you can smell spring out there, and becuase this reminds me of that old 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12 Sesame Street color scheme, your USDA Hardiness Zone map, in all its glory:

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Spring's Edge.

It wouldn't seem right to get anybody out there in the viewing audience too excited, but a quick glance at the ten-day shows a different season altogether. It's been hard winter so long I don't even know what to do with a forecast that looks like that. Now: don't (yet) go up into the attic for the short sleeves or anything like that—it's not time, as it would have been in grad school, to break out the fry daddy and deep-fry Ore-Idas on the porch. It'll still be flannel weather next week. It'll be wet. Your heater will still kick plenty on. You'll still want that thermos of coffee at four in the afternoon, will still look sidelong at the cabinet when the rain moves in and consider a dollop of brandy—if you don't have to go to work the next day. But and but and but and but and but, friends and fans of budding trees and bulbs coming along, there are consistent fifties and occasional sixties out there. There is, after these long months, the promise of a different pattern.

We shall see.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Constant Pain.

I'm falling down on the job. I knew it would snow, and I did not tell you. Or: I knew they knew it would snow. What to say about this: when I got out of my car at the deeply crappy and still utterly satisfying pizza joint way out US 70, out near the puppet show, it was snowing hard, but it smelled like rain. This is how you know only to worry about bridges and side streets. Or surface streets, as they may be called. Surface streets. Find me another kind. But I digress.

It was at first a deeply lovely snow, large-flaked, noisy on the umbrella, something to look at out the classroom window or through the windshield. It has this evening become a more pelleted type of situation, accumulating all the same, though not on streets of any kind, surface or otherwise. It is a free snow, the type that lets the kids out for no reason, throws wrenches in the works, makes messes of everything but the actual.

Here at 27401, we build Swedish sofas, we make dinner, we look out the windows, we forget that the faulty stove burner fails on low, and we then have to leave the kitchen windows open until the threat of immolating explosive death and injury passes. We watch it snow. We welcome March. This isn't lionish, I don't think. It's snow, though, and it's winter. Still. Again. As always.

Friends and fans of weather of all kinds, Barry Hannah has passed, which is its own storm. I am the dragon, Quadberry says, stepping from the fighter plane on the tarmac in Testimony of Pilot. America the beautiful, he says, like you will never know. If I'd written that story, I'd have never written another. How in the hell could I have found that again?