The calendar says spring; but where we live, the hourglass sifts the remains of winter. We light a cinnamon-scented candle, start a crackling fire; eat a hearty dinner and finish it off with a filling Apple Brown Betty.
But the clues exist. In the back yard, green shoots push through the earth—tulip bulbs, planted too deep. They never bloom but thrust their pointers to remind me of what could have been, what can be, although the early morning thermometer reads 29 degrees and in spite of gloves my fingers go numb on my way to the grocery store.
Sunday, smoke wafted across the street from the brush my husband burned—wagon-loads of broom branches; supple pine and hard oak yanked off by scouring winds over the last three months. Earlier, he took the tarp off the sailboat. He stores it elsewhere, so I didn’t see; but could imagine the unveiling, green plastic lifting on the stiff breeze, rising up like a billowing flag heralding the spring work to come—yard clean-up and planting, painting the boat bottom, washing and waxing and compounding.
Less than two months until the phlox riots pink and purple over the granite slabs in the back garden; until tomato seedlings sway in ceramic pots, until the boat parts the waters and ripples her way to the mooring. Sooner then that, I’ll sit in an open spot on the back stoop with my eyes closed and wait for my body to come back to me. There the sun will infuse my skin, spread tentacles of warmth and finger its way down deep to melt the frozen core.