Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Early Spring.

Oh, the snowstorm that couldn't. Or wouldn't. We're due now for heavyish rain, semichilly temps. It's Virginia that's due for breathless side-of-the-road local newsmageddon. All of us are supposed to see mid-fifties by the weekend, though, so none of any of this probably matters too, too much.

The wrens are nearly finished moving into the front porch mailbox. The Bradford pears at The Toad's school are budding out. I'm typing this one-handed with a 24-day-old baby sleeping in my other arm. Forsythia. Crocus. Mockingbirds chasing each other power line to gutter and back again.

I'm trying to head out back to light one more little fire before we turn too warm for that sort of thing. I'd sing a sad song about having somehow lost this last month or so of cold weather if I weren't just as eager for that first warm front porch morning, coffee in the wooden chair, smell of things blooming, light westerly breeze—

Heavy-headed committee members. That's what Sandra Alcosser, in her lovely poem "In Case of Rapture This Taxi Will Explode," calls tulips in a bud vase. Those daffodils out back bring that line to mind this morning. "With what sharp pleasure I would welcome company into my life," she says at the end, or something very near that.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Snowbound Lament.

It's chilly out there, is what it is. The Sunday Roast has come and gone, a quick filet that was only a little on fire for only a little while, a baked potato, a little steamed broccoli. If the kid is intent on killing you, go simple: Red meat, red wine. Various dinner-table bubble-bath bargains. Be finished with it all, get the big one to bed, get the wee one sleeping on the sofa next to his sleeping mom, pour a drink, put on the hi-fi, clean the kitchen, check the weather.

The fancies say rain on Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday. The geeks you've been following since January, the guys with fancy computers and angry semi-grammatical facebook pages, say a foot of snow in that same timeframe. The thing: they've been right three times in a row. Do you want to be socked in with a manic toddler, pissed about his brother's arrival on the planet? No. No no and no. But: can you still be you and not hope for cataclysm, for that selfsame foot of snow, for a power outage and the need to move the whole family to the woodstoved shed?

This is the lament of the new father, second verse—I no longer know for sure what to hope for. What I did do: take the problem child to the grocery, buy eggs and milk and bread. If this thing comes true, I'll already have it, won't have to fight the lines. Though, damn, I love the lines, always have. I love Christmas Eve at the bookstore, and I love the night before a storm at the grocery. I like needing a carton of milk but not needing to panic. I like being near all that odd, misplaced fear.

So bring on the snow. Or don't. It's March. We'll either bloom the rest of these daffodils or we'll pile snow into the bog garden that is the backyard. Or, hell, we'll do both. The fancies, regardless of forecast, want sixties for next week. If the geeks and the fancies both are right, we'll probably hatch mosquitoes in the snowdrifts—and if that's not enough apocalypse for you, then I've got a three-week-old baby and a fairly, though hopefully temporarily, damaged Toad you can borrow until you're satisfied.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Next Time.

The next time we do this—though, friends and fans of both weather and human husbandry, there will be no next time—we'll try not to do a deathly ill toddler in newborn week three. Finally got it figured out last night: croup with a bonus round of ear infection, which explained the comeback of the fever, and now The Toad is tanked on antibiotics and Advil and is at school for the first time in a week. A week. I love that kid, but I'm not sure I've ever been happier to not have him here. The house is a sitcom set of what a house would look like if the week we just experienced had actually happened. There are stray crumbs from meals I'm not sure we ever ate. Yogurts from another time. Spoons that may never come clean. Burp cloths. Swaddle blankets. Single shoes.

But there's crap coffee coming ready in the machine, and the sun is out, and the kid is mainly healed and uncontagious, and the baby's asleep upstairs and as yet immune, and I can come to you and say the hardwoods are starting to bud and bloom, which is my favorite sign of spring. Subtle. Quiet. Reddish hues in the stands of trees on 70 on the way to the puppet show. Early fruit trees are going at the elementary school out there, plums, or maybe some cherry variant, but it's the maples I like best, those undersized signs and signals out at the branch tips. Soon, the showy stuff: Japanese magnolias, dogwoods. But this moment—daffodils and the grass not greening but signalling that it might—this moment I love.

Possible snow this weekend. Possible snow midweek next week. But spring's coming. I found a few leaves in the mailbox. If the wrens are already thinking about their yearly rental, then it's time all of us got ready.