Why not love winter? It amplifies the joy of springtime

There’s a house finch singing outside our window, sounding like the very ambassador to spring. Sometimes she says, “Holy holy spring, kneel down and kiss this earth.” Other times, it’s “Get your heiney out of bed and water the 3,000 seeds you planted last week, woman.”

Everything about spring is coming back to me, how it feels a little like jailbreak from winter, like, don’t look now, but we’re riding bikes to the park while our snowsuits hang cartoonishly limp at home. Chimes of freedom ring in my ears, except when Rose and Col conduct their sibling competitions while riding bicycles in the street and every nerve in my body feels like it is being strummed by an insane guitar player: Twaaaaang!

But, I’ll tell you, parenting outdoors is so much easier. It feels like we’ve all shed some sort of arcane shackle we’ve dragged around all winter, just to be able to play outside again.

Yesterday I announced, “I’m going outside to play,” and the kids trailed me into the yard wondering exactly what this meant. When they realized I was simply planting more spinach seeds, they tried to bust me: “You said you were going to play!”

This is how I play, little ones.

The kids don’t realize that planting seeds is therapy for me. I’m also currently engaging in peach-blossom therapy, greenhouse salad therapy, riding bikes therapy and opening the windows therapy, and today for the very first time: wearing shorts therapy! One might think that the collective diagnosis for our afflictions is called, simply, winter.

It reminds me of my friend David who had this old red truck, affectionately called Big Red. Big Red was a semi-reliable, gas-guzzling, though charming, beast that made commuting to work more adventure (as in: will the truck start today?) than routine.

When David bought a more reliable used vehicle, his girlfriend told me he was so relieved to get rid of Big Red.

“But I thought he loved Big Red,” I told her. “It was like part of him.”

“He had to love it,” she said. “It required that of him.”

All this giddy relief of spring makes me wonder if I actually pep-talk myself through the beast of winter, because you know, it requires that of me. I mean, I do love winter, don’t I? All that indoor family togetherness, the snow blatting at the windows, the UNO tournaments that last until my brain starts oozing out of my ears. The way you can discern our daily activities by excavating the geological layers of our living room floor: Ahh, first the kids colored, then made paper airplanes, then played Legos, then ate a pantry’s worth of sticky, crumby snacks.

The truth is, I do love winter, even if mostly because it is the dormancy and limitations of winter that amplify the joyous sounds of every living thing singing its spring coming-out theme.

Reach Rachel Turiel at sanjuandrive@frontier.net.Visit her blog, 6512 and growing, on raising children, chickens and other messy, rewarding endeavors at 6,512 feet.

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