|Like The Queen
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Monday, April 28, 2003
A Perfect Spring Day
What do you do on a perfect spring day? Stay in bed a long time reading Bullfinch’s Mythology of course, especially about Hereward the Wake, though Bullfinch mostly gives a Tristan-like story about our hero delivering a bride to his lord. There really was a Hereward who was much more interesting than that.
Then of course you want to go inspect the shoreline, riding on the spring tide. In March we often have what is known locally as a Blow Out Low Tide. This is when the wind blows so fiercely in combination with the natural low tide that it exposes parts of the river bottom you never see. Ancient skiff skeletons, lots of driftwood and the ghosts of piers, wharves, and docks rise up out of the muck and mud when this happens. But this time of year we get high tides that make your marshy shore into a dry launch. There may be a good bit of breeze blowing, making the bay choppy, but up against the marshes it is easy to paddle the canoe. Both young dogs, Priss and Socks, join you and you tempt them to jump out to run along the shore or swim the deep spots. They’re shedding their winter coats in big tufts and clumps. If you pluck one out, they’ll turn and look at their backsides in astonishment. But swimming and marsh leaping will go a long way towards grooming them back into welcome house guests.
A good dozen years ago BigDarling planted cypress trees along the marsh. One of springtimes sweet treats is to see how many of them you can find. The cypress is particularly distinctive in spring and fall. Its straight branches reach out like some western pine but the vivid yellow/green leaves grow along those branches like fur. Of course, all the trees are still in their spring green, though the poplars are growing darker as are some of the oaks. While paddling up Jacob’s, Gut Mr. and Mrs. B Eagle fly out to see who is trespassing on their territory, but when they see it is only their humans, they go back to their Sunday paper. You make it all the way up to the beaver dam before you lose Priss to some delicious woodland scent, but Socks stays with you the whole trip. Who would have realized just how much mistletoe had spread throughout the forest canopy? But it does love those black gum trees.
Since it’s probably lunch time when you get back from the canoe trip, of course you make grilled cheese and take it out to the garden. When BD asks if you want to walk out to get the paper you can’t resist - especially when you walk out into your PrayingPlace - between the woods and the second culvert in the lane - where the sky domes above you grander than any cathedral and the energy of the earth pulses so thrumingly, you have to get down and put the palms of your hands flat on the ground to feel it. If you are one of the fortunate, you sense that primal heartbeat, that power of life, in your very body - while the glory that is the blue sky pulls your arms up towards heaven in some ancient gesture of worship.
In late April the barley has beards that look like silver dashes atop the deep green of the heads and stalks. Soon they’ll begin to turn and grow into golden yellow heads with shimmery hairdos. Your dogs will disappear into that ocean of green because they know the ground is covered with fragrant furry things that are fun to chase. Suddenly, out of this landscape of green a brown body leaps high into the air, paws curved beneath, looking so much like a spring bok you once saw on the old Marlon Perkins show Wild Kingdom. Boing! Boing! There goes another, bigger, yellow body - not as graceful or leaping as high. Then Boing Boing there goes Priss again, turning in her leap so that her hind legs look like they’re going one way while her head and shoulders are going in another. Like so many kernels of popcorn, they leap up and up again and again, eyes alert, faces intent, hunting - or maybe, just playing. And you’ll stand there long moments, laughing every time you see another happy dog pop out of the sea of grass.
Since the day started so late, by the time you get back with the paper, read it, and maybe knit a few rounds on your sock, it’s nigh on to 4 o’clock. So you decide you really ought to put up the window screens or when it finally gets really warm, the house will fill with flies if you open the windows. Of course, the screens were taken out so late last fall that they got put away dirty, so you have to put on your rubber boots and scrub them down by the hydrant. And you forget to wear rubber gloves so your hands get icky with the spick’Nspan. The screens are huge and unwieldy, though not heavy. And your natural disctractability, sure sign of the ENFP, wants to say that you’ve done enough work on these screens, when you’ve only got half of them up. But you promise yourself that when you finish hanging all the screens you can take a hot bath - which you do - with all the toiletries that make it special.
The sun is so far down the sky now, your shadow makes you look as tall and slim as you always wished you were. You’ve got a little time to knit some more on your sock, stir up supper, and check your e-mail, which, sadly, has only gross adds for viagra and other more personal garbage in the junk mail folder and no loving messages from your friends. But by then, BigDarling is showered and the pizza is ready. Old-time Radio is on so you listen to that while you eat. It’s late, which you didn’t notice, because the day is bright for so long. And you go to bed and read some more Bullfinch, this time, the tales of the court of Charlemagne and laugh about what a wonderful day it’s been and make fun of the sound of foreign languages when they are heard by a non-speaker - and talk a little about what you’ll do the next day. Then sink into perfect blissful sleep.
That’s what you do on a perfect spring day. At least, that is what I did.
posted by Bess | 8:06 AM