Photo: Parent-helping at school means a painted picture. The naming of this one should be obvious: Rising, hopeful warmth. School paint on newspaper print. Fun fact: I walked away from this painting for about 5 minutes to wash my hands after taking the picture, and some kid came and slashed it through with yellow paint. Booooooooooooo.
I was up at sunrise this morning, baking muffins and shortcakes. And that’s a big deal, actually, because I haven’t been getting up at my usual 5am of late. It’s been hard to get out of bed. I haven’t had the energy, the gumption, the get-up-and-go. It’s not depression, but it’s certainly been a sadness. The winter has just taken all of my “extra” energy, you know?
So to be up at sunrise, baking and happy, to hear the anchors on the morning news talk about today being the first day of spring, I was feeling pretty good. Matter of fact, I committed this morning to see tomorrow’s sunrise. Because this morning’s was the last sunrise of winter. I want the hopeful glory of seeing tomorrow’s first sunrise of Spring.
And yeah, it’s that serious. The symbolism matters a lot to me. Because this was one hell of a winter and I’m feeling a little bit proud of having made it through to the other side.
90 inches of snow in a month? Storm after storm? Ice dams and frozen driveways? Single digit, if not below zero temperatures? Not a single week in January or February that was a full week of school for the boys? And two blizzards? Not to mention the 2 weeks of inconsistent trains and The Husband getting home on average at 7:15 but once as late as 10:45?
All of that with a little sedan with no four-wheel-drive?
And all of that with two toddlers cooped up in our little house??
That’s a hell of a winter, you guys. I know that it doesn’t take much for me to complain about winter, but this one… this one was as historic as they say. It challenged us as a couple and as a family, and this farmhouse, for sure. We didn’t ask for the challenge (no one here did!), but I think we met it and succeeded. I’m not a New Englander, but I’m feeling a little bit of that hearty pride today. If we can live through this winter, we can live through any winter.
So I am going to get up tomorrow and seize my first morning of spring, because it’s so precious and hard earned, inevitable as it may be.
My Quiet Thoughts are on just how deep the hole can be sometimes. It’s unusual for me to completely lose my focus and energy. I’ll be quite honest: though I was blogging and keeping all of my obligations, I did it with little heart or gusto. I’ve been running on empty for weeks: there is not enough sleep to re-energize me, not enough coffee to get me going, little food or fun to really perk me up. It has been a hard time.
Some of that can be blamed on the weather, for sure. Lack of sunlight on the skin makes me a sad person. But where winter presented physical problems to distract me, I’ve had to be really honest with myself this week: I’ve been sincerely lonely. I realize I miss my mom and my sister, I haven’t really hung out with other moms since the snow really got going, and there are some old friends from work and school who I haven’t seen in years in some cases who I really wish I could see. It is wonderful to have a supportive Husband and partner and friend, but it’s another thing to have compatriots, people who you share your life and times with. And yeah, I miss Black people. That’s probably a whole ‘nother post…
And I write all of that because part of the problem is that I don’t often share. I’m great at listening and asking questions. Often times, I’m sitting at a table with a coffee and I ask one question and someone just starts talking and won’t stop. You ask the right follow-up questions and they just keep going. They share and feel better and I listen and think that I feel better. Then an hour has passed, the story is told, it’s time to go and… I’ve collected a story. But I haven’t told one of my own. So I have to keep it with me, no resolutions or new thoughts, no confirmations or re-direction. I feel like I am talking all day to many people, but I’m rarely sharing. You know? Is that a strange thought? I listen with sincerity and love to do so, people’s stories are interesting…
And I am growing into the idea that I’m a storyteller in a way. I’m writing the next installment of the Meadowlark series as part of my CampNaNo challenge. I finished the outline for it yesterday and I’m very pleased with where it is going to go. And believe it or not, I have 2 more stories in that series planned, and I’ll write them in July and November. I can’t wait! I’m still working on Vi and I’m on track to get done with my revisions and send it off to trusted readers by the end of May. And then there is the short story for Ploughshares. Outlining for that is ongoing. I’m really proud of the progress that I’m making. I’m not good. At all. But I’m getting better. I know that I someday will be.
And I designed two quilts yesterday. Because the preschool auction is coming up and I need to contribute. And my sister-in-law is having a baby next month… might as well sew for him, too!
If you were paying attention, you’ll notice that all of that work requires that I be in my own head. I may need to seek a new and uncomfortable sort of challenge in Spring and Summer.
In the meantime, there is plenty of work to do.
That is one single coat of the magnetic primer for the fridge. It stinks to high Heaven. Seriously! Awful stuff!! You are supposed to put three coats of that stuff on and… The Husband thinks we might be cool with just the one. The fridge is, after all, magnetic. So… anyway. Poor choice to do that at a time when we can’t open all of the windows. Lesson learned. He’s gonna put the actual chalkboard paint on the fridge tonight and probably tomorrow night. Will have a picture for you on Monday!
I figured out what to do with that mushroom confit oil. The mushrooms, even the next day, totally took on no new flavor. But that oil? Magnificent! I used it as a flavoring for our rice yesterday. Amazing. Simply delicious. Mushroom oil, chicken broth. You get that risotto taste without all the damn work. Do. It. For seriously.
My dear reader, you did it. You are hours away from the Vernal Equinox (or maybe you’re reading this a little later and we’re already there) and you deserve the reward of warmer days and beautiful sunshine. I wish you, first, a smile. To yourself, in the mirror. I want you to look yourself in the mirror and tell yourself that you are better for all of these insane weeks of cold and snow. You are stronger than you know. I wish you, second, a hug. From whoever weathered it all with you. Maybe it will be many hugs, but I hope that you wrap your arms around someone this weekend and know that you were able to make it thanks to the people around you. Then, I wish you good coffee and good conversation, with planning for your next big thing or your big summer trip. I wish you the blowing of bubbles in the front yard, or shopping for spring holiday outfits, or a stop by the home store to look at seeds and gardening tools. I wish you the sight of something green poking out from the warming earth, fresh fruit on a chilled plate, and a bowl of spring mix with a bright vinaigrette. And a time to share your story with loving ears to listen. Because your story is beautiful and should be told and added to.
Until Monday, take care.