So it’s spring. Yes, here too. In spite of the single digit mornings and a pasture of unbroken white.
I remember what the season should bring, could bring. Rich soil turned up in garden beds, fresh linens from the line on our bed. Sweet sap running in the trees. Foals romping outside my window. I don’t have that here and now. None of it. Only memories. So strong I can smell the earth and the sweet sap and the new born baby’s breath.
It’s different here. Still spring, the emerging of warm earth from her frozen slumber, but here and now with a new set of definitions. Like the sighting of the rufous sided towhee scratching at the seeds I toss out beneath our picnic table, and awaiting the song of the frogs. Thinning snow that turns to slush in the afternoons and light so intense on the spring glazed surface even cloudy days seem blinding.
We learn to adjust. Human beings are remarkably adaptable, no matter how stubborn we may seem. No place is perfect. Thing about this place, with all the trials and tribulations to get here and stay here: it’s ours. That means something to me. More so with each passing year, growing connection, memories embedded in the soil. A glance around and I can point to what fence we built, cabin remodeled, road or trail constructed, which mountain I climbed with which dog in what sort of weather. A board on the old bedroom door frame records Forrest’s growth in faded pencil marks, and generations of horses – mother, daughter, grandmother – await me at feeding time.
Out on a snowshoe alone with the dog. Gratitude. It’s easy to find it here. Ten things a day, a friend and I prompt each other when we find ourselves forgetting. Yes, I do forget. The space, the light, the beauty, thin air, a mountain that looks as fancy as a wedding cake, solitude, silence but for spring winds and the opening river and birds. Yes, spring brings such song in the early mornings before the wind picks up and late in the afternoon as the shadows are tossed long and indigo upon sugary snow.
Living. Dying. This season. Every season.
I remember the dread that came with the risk of the open road bringing conflict and chaos along with cars. Now I await the open road as the open pasture when we can begin building our place on our land that we have fought for and won.
Bob takes the Cat down there in the afternoon slush and cuts through the open white. The first step towards breaking ground. Frost just below surface. We are early still.
And I remember the fear that hung heavy in the spring storms back then with each birth. I would rather not remember. I turn my attention to the mob of chicks scampering about in the giant dog crate between the planters of newly spread lettuce seed and the grass for the cats and dog. Their happy chirps blending with the melody from the various birds feeding at the picnic table right outside the window.
And now I know
the loss of none
As if I could remember
a babe crying to be nursed
And the sound of children’s laughter
The gentle nicker of the mare to foal
The song of two blue birds
on the top of a spruce tree still green
Where they first arrive here
The sap won’t run this year.
At times emptiness is a relief.
Now I know what is beneath the slipping bark.
I take out the draw knife for the first time this season. Peeling a small log needed for a remodel project on a neighbor’s bathroom. With every pull of the knife, tiny white life revealed. Ten, twenty, maybe more. Slicing through life. Larva.
I know it’s crazy but still I feel sadness. I am taking life. Can I look at them as the enemy? Who is to blame? I daresay, not the beetles.
Will every log I peel for our house reveal the same?
I need a shower. Rid myself of their remains which has stuck onto my skin, in my hair, my jeans after working out in the wind.
With regards to The Color of the Wild, much thanks to all of you readers who posted reviews – what a wonderful help you have been – and for those writers who took the time to share reviews and interviews on their web sites and blogs, especially:
More big news this week is that I just got the word that a select number of Barnes and Nobles bookstores will be stocking The Color of the Wild on their shelves. Please take a look at your local store and let me know if you see it there!
As for what’s next… Patience (I tell myself). It’s in the works. Two so close to completion, but we’re not there yet. And I’m not ready to be there. No, it’s not fear. Crazy? Maybe.
This is where my attention should be – getting the next one finished up and ready to go – and yet I find myself shunning the process, intentionally. I’m not ready. Isn’t that strange? It is not lack of words, as you, dear reader, can see. It is something else. I need more time. I need to find a balance between pushing myself, and holding back. With distance comes understanding. It’s not reading the same thing over and over. It allows me to see it all anew. To pick up the manuscript with a fresh perspective and a bright, eager mind. Editing need not be a chore. It can be a pleasure – if you love what you wrote. And if you don’t , here’s your chance to fix it, and fall in love all over again.
I don’t know how it is for other writers, but for me, I am learning it has to do with trust in timing. Trust and timing. And knowing when to take a break. To step back before diving in head first… Then take a deep breath and go for it!
For now, I let it go. Brew like the beer. Though I’m starting to get thirsty.
Waiting for words to ripen.
It won’t be long before I open the pages up again, and maybe turn them into fine wine.