Winter is melting. It's like a strong, galloping horse that's finally been broken.
I spent yesterday morning outside with girlfriends and kids at the skate park, of all places. We're all so starved for
warmth, the mamas congregated on the heat-absorbent concrete, lounging and eating our kids' snacks like we were at the
beach. The kids - who've been meeting up every Thursday since they were drooling infants - spent an hour trying to claw
a big nail" (survey stake) out of the ground with their bare hands. I think they were thrilled just to be touching
Even though March is
typically one of the wetter months here, suddenly the moisture seems so useful, so practical. You can watch it - like a
sped-up movie - as it falls, collects and melts, feeding the chives that are spearing up from the mud like caricatures
of garden vegetables.
We even dabbled in bike-
riding this week. It was just a stunt as first, just Col tracking up the gluey mud bog in our yard. And suddenly he was
rolling down our driveway, then down our street. Before anyone could think twice, I popped Rose in the backpack and we
were off. We didn't even have mittens. And even the snowsuits the kids were wearing that day were less
survival-ration and more protection in the event of puddles.
Even with the robins singing and the snowmelt trickling, it still felt sort of strange and awkward, like we were
auditioning for a part in the movie called spring. But the sight of Col, peddling down a sidewalk, waking up dormant
muscles with each revolution of his snow-booted feet, was like the universe whispering
in my ear (perhaps with a
Jamaican accent) every little thing's gonna be alright."
The sun was so healing, I didn't even get impatient when Col abandoned his bike to prowl the shelter of a spruce tree
picking up spruce pine cones" declaring this one looks like a jellybean! This one's an arrowhead! This one's a pinto
bean. See this one Mama, is it like a banana? This one's " Meanwhile, Rosie was testing out rhymes. Does helmet rhyme
babelmet? Does crayon rhyme with bram? Does shoe rhyme with school?" After a couple minutes of ear-battering on both
sides I just started declaring that's right!" at regular
intervals. Sometimes I think I need a pre-recorded tape of myself doling out cheery
responses. This morning Col busted me exclaiming over his Lego rocket-racecar-helicopter while I was making coffee.
You have to look, Mama."
Of course, there will be
another stretch of days where we huddle inside and peer out the window, watching the snow take back all the sun's hard
work. But March snow seems so benign, like catching a glimpse of that chemistry teacher you hated, on the last day of
school. Even a casual boot stomp can press out all the meanness in a clump of snow.
And besides, who can even remember winter now? It
wasn't that bad, was it?
Rachel Turiel's column runs the first and third Sunday. Send love letters to sanjuandrive@ frontier.net. And check out
her blog, 6512andgrowing. wordpress.com.