The other day was just beautiful: warm, long, generous light spilling out into all the right places; the air both cool and mild. It was the kind of day where laziness and efficiency are valued and rewarded in equal measure.
I went for a run and took pictures along the way, trying to capture something that danced away from me, again and again. I thought, this is February? Nearly a decade on this coast and I’m still not used to the seasons. Still, I’m ready for this month to be one that punishes, that lashes out, that confronts and laughs and saunters away.
We moved into a house a few months ago, and the woman who owned it before us loved her garden and yard. She was the only owner, though at some point she co-owned it with her husband, or maybe he alone owned it since women maybe couldn’t sign their names to much then. Regardless, she outlived him by a few decades, according to the obituary I sought out in our local paper. And at some point, she – or they – planted lovely things: rhododendron, hydrangeas, fuchsia, geraniums, alstroemeria. I know these plants by their leaves and branches; we are waiting to discover their blossoms.
There is a monkey puzzle tree, for which I cannot help but swoon; I didn’t even know such a thing existed before I happened to have one in my yard. And there’s something we think is a Japanese cherry, though I’m wondering about its health; surely, all the way into mid-February, there would be more obvious signs of life. That doesn’t make sense, but here, it does.
Daffodils have started appearing out of the ground, out of the nowhere, popping their green stems and yellow faces up as if to look around at this new, old world. The roses, which actually lingered into the holiday season, are full of greens and reds in their leaves, a puberty waiting to fully develop. A friend gifted us an apple tree and the very pink blossoms feel like youth, smelling of something that hints at the someday fruit to come.
And here I sit, in the backyard. The day is gray today, with bursts of cold rain showering down onto everything without much warning at all. I can hear children running at a local elementary school. It must be recess; given the time, they must have just had their lunch. A train, some geese, a raven who somehow communicates his annoyance to me, though I do not speak his language.
I sit here, thinking of the memory of light and how wonderous such a simple thing can seem, and the rain starts again, dripping slowly and then with more certainty upon the roof covering this part of the porch. I wish I had a blanket. I’d like the dogs to join me from the wet grass where they relax.
I call to them; they bark. We go inside, where it is warm.