April Come She Will

promise of seasonsI recently heard an old Simon and Garfunkel song called “April Come She Will” and was instantly reminded not only of how beautiful a tune it is, but also how true. There is much debate over what the song means… from the natural evolution of a short-lived love affair likened to the changing of the seasons, to a metaphor for the actual brevity of life itself. Here are the lyrics… you can decide for yourself:

April Come She Will

April, comes she will,
When streams are ripe and swelled with rain.
May, she will stay,
Resting in my arms again.

June, she’ll change her tune.
In restless walks she’ll prowl the night.
July, she will fly,
And give no warning to her flight.

August, die she must.
The autumn winds blow chilly and cold.
September, I’ll remember.
A love once new has now grown old.

Any of the theories as to its meaning would work for me, but the snow on the ground, the shorter days, the layers of clothing I pile on every day or the space heater cranking away at my feet lead me to think about the seasons and how they change. I reflect upon the uncanny way each one has of representing a new phase or marking the visceral passage of time.

The inevitability of change… the promise of seasons is the only thing we can truly count on in this life. What is that saying? “The only constant is change?” … or something like that. The marching on of the seasons is reliable. No matter what is happening in our lives at any given moment — the backdrops of April, May, June, July, August, September and so on rarely change.

April comes and thaws and fosters life with rain. May follows and we are so grateful to see her again. With her flowers and warmth we graciously hang on to every last drop of sun she offers. June finds us tiring in the heat with days that last so long they’ll draw us into the night before we ever even know it is upon us.

July goes so fast with its high blue skies and holidays—like a month-long celebration—we’ll truly wonder where she’s gone by the time August interrupts. She gently reminds us that soon it will be time to go back. Back to school, back to work, back inside as the days grow shorter, darker… colder. September, we will remember, all the life and love and laughter that came with the start of April’s rain.

Deep Freeze

ice-crystals
Like armies taking to the fields in battle, the ice marched steadily onward. Starting at the edges and meeting in the middle, its frozen grip grew briskly downward crystallizing all movement and solidifying that which was fluid mere hours ago.

Once again I stand in awe of nature and the uncanny way it has of taking over. It gains control of everything without ever having checked with us.

So too, life goes on without regard for our plans, our ideas, our dreams, our schemes. Time advances on us, like a freeze to unsuspecting open water, and we have no choice but to withdraw… to surrender… to survive… and to wait.

We wait—with overwhelming anticipation—for the sweet, sweet mercy of the thaw.

Harvest of the Senses

Like kamikazes sacrificially plummeting from the sky, I watched some of the first leaves fall to earth yesterday. Which always makes me sad. Though I cannot blame them… It’s been a long, hot, thirsty summer and frankly I am amazed at their capacity to have held on this long with little to no liquid nourishment from above.

Autumn is without a doubt my favorite season as it unwaveringly causes me to become reflective. For some, reflection comes with the arrival of the New Year… 365 pre-packaged days bursting with possibility. Or perhaps it is spring that stirs within others dreams of opportunity and renewal. But for me, there is no time of year where change is as palpable as in the fall.

If you will, consider how all five of our senses are engaged during the transition that accompanies fall…

The wind feels cooler against our skin that—not long ago bare—is now covered with softer, warmer fabrics.

The air smells crisper, edged with the saccharine scent of our biological world as it breaks down around us.

Our palette changes to accommodate warmer things, tasting both spicy and sweet.

Our sight is continually stimulated by the brilliant colors and shifting shades of the leaves, grasses and the fields of the harvest.

Our surroundings grow quieter and still as the cool weather begins to slow us down. And all that can be heard is the distant falling, rustling and crunching of the leaves as they give themselves over to Time.

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Ode to Springtime

Say what you will about the sorry state of our Union … but some things just don’t seem to matter quite as much when spring is in the air. We tend not to concern ourselves with things like the upcoming election, the economy, our current unemployment rate or the soaring price of fuel.

Yes… when spring has sprung, there is very little that can get us down…

It is light outside when we drive to work and when we return home. Daffodils seemingly pop up overnight, dotting the landscape. Gardens are planted. Lawnmowers and laughter can be heard throughout neighborhoods everywhere.

Crisp, white lines appear on baseball diamonds across America as the Boys of Summer begin their recreational reign. Birdsong fills the air. Windows are opened up, rolled down or taken out and replaced with screens… allowing the fresh air to push away the last stale remnants of winter.

It is also during this magically transformational time of year that the SAME birds who sing to you each morning whilst you rub the sleep from your weary, little eyes… also fly overhead and unleash a torrent of crap on your newly washed car.

Spiders, centipedes and other unidentifiable creepy-crawlies from the pits of hell appear as if out of nowhere scaring the $#@! out of you, making you reach for the nearest can of Raid or Aqua Net—whichever is closest.

As trees and flowers and other living things burst to life… your eyes water and sting while you sneeze uncontrollably as though having a grand mal seizure.

The ground thaws and frequent rain waters the thirsty earth while flooding your basement and turning your driveway into Monster Truck Mud-Fest 2012.

The weather warms and grows psychotic causing you to leave the house dressed in a snappy tank-top-turtleneck-wool-sweater combo, carrying an umbrella, sunglasses, gloves and scarf, rain boots, bottle of iced-tea, flip-flops, thermos of coffee, an ice-scraper and a bottle of SPF 30.

A sudden abundance of sunshine pours obscene amounts of sunlight through your dirt-brown window panes revealing how truly filthy your house is after you and your family have been trapped inside of it for 5 months straight.

The snow and ice melt away revealing dozens (if not hundreds) of dead twigs and clumps of leaves that have been deposited all over your rain gutters, flower beds and patio furniture.

The climbing mercury propels you to rummage through boxes of spring and summer apparel—and as though trapped in a nightmare from which you cannot awake—you and everyone else is forced to see your thighs for the very FIRST time since Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, Valentine’s Day and the pizza, brat and beer fest that is March Madness.

Ahhhh Springtime… We are oh SO happy to see you again!

The Itsy-Bitsy Spider

I saw a little black spider in the corner of the ceiling while in the shower this morning and even though I knew it would mean a slow, torturous death for the miniature monster… I also knew it that only one of us was going to survive this shower. It was either him or me. So naturally I chose me… and I drowned him.

Poor little guy. Here it is… finally, mercifully springtime and he crawls out of his tiny crevice either from wintering or simply because he was just born and he starts to build his first delicate web of the season… when all of the sudden some crabby bitch with a personal vendetta against all eight-legged creatures as well as the state of wakefulness in general has to come along and cut his life short.

And let me tell you that the shower isn’t exactly the easiest place to commit murder. Though it IS the cleanest. The problem with the shower is that said method of execution HAS to be what I like to call death by “splash drowning.” I call it “splash drowning” because one must repeatedly throw cups-full of water onto the offending beast and their fragile, new structure until they tumble from whence they came. 

Yes, death via splash drowning is far, far worse and deeply cruel compared to “direct drowning” in say, like… a sink or a toilet, because it is MUCH slower and the spider thinks for a bit that he actually has a chance of surviving this terrifying ordeal.

He’ll try to outrun the waves that continue to crash rhythmically upon him and he’ll do so successfully… for a bit… until, when out of sheer exhaustion, he’ll be spent. He’ll have nothing left and be forced to succumb to his fate, riding the river of death straight down the shower wall, across the floor of the tub… slipping anonymously and unceremoniously into his watery grave.

Now, you might ask: Did you, at any time, feel badly about torturing one of God’s creatures who was merely minding his own business, doing what he was designed to do by choosing your shower corner in which to innocently emerge from winter and spin his little web?

Well… I guess you could say that I did feel an itsy-bitsy amount of guilt and sadness as I watched him rushing helplessly “into the light”… until he got caught on one of the anti-slip treads on the bottom of the tub… and I gave him a swift, wet kick… right down the drain.

Stating the Obvious

“You’d better bundle up today because it’s cold, Cold, COLD out there! Most areas are currently experiencing single-digit temps that aren’t expected to climb out of the teens until tomorrow!”  The way-too enthusiastic weatherman squawked at me from inside the TV.

Face buried deep in the pillow, half comatose and wrapped blissfully in my flannel sheets I groaned as I felt an overwhelming desire to violently hurl the remote at him.

“Studies show that this is the most miserable time of the year for Americans.”  The annoyingly chipper anchorman regurgitated immediately after the weatherman stepped down.

“No shit.”  I mumbled aloud as a peeled myself from the heavenly embrace of memory foam and goose down and set my feet on the cold, hardwood floor.

The anchorman continued.  “…With the holidays over and most people heading back to work after a long vacation, people report finding this time on the calendar to be the most difficult. Darkness still looming in the early morning, the frigid weather combined with poor driving conditions effects people significantly. Not to mention that the bills from the holiday season are already beginning to arrive adding even more stress to the average financially-strained citizen.”

“Well aren’t you a genius. Like I needed YOU to explain to ME why my current mood is creeping from ‘just a little blue’ ever closer to ‘murderous rage’.”  I spewed at him as I pulled on my robe and bitterly thrust my ice-cold feet into their slippers.

Mr. Brilliant then expressed that  “one individual we spoke to explained that she felt rudeness was particularly an issue during the actual holiday season this year so she can only imagine what it will be like now that the so-called ‘Season of Joy’ has come to an end.”

“Really?” I questioned in a flattened but sarcastic tone. “You only spoke to ONE individual? Perhaps you ought to pay me a visit. I’ll give you something to talk about. My focus would be on the phenomenon of bubble-headed news anchors stating the obvious and then going so far as to call it ‘news’.”

Perhaps this is the person they spoke to... Ain't she a peach?

My Not-So Feminist Side

Every woman wants to believe that she can and WILL take care of herself when the need arises. It is a notion of great value that my mother taught my sister and me and I have tried to impart the same wisdom to my nieces and younger female friends when applicable.

But let me be honest here. There is a part of me (and not a microscopic part either) that is MORE than happy to let a man do certain things for me.

Take cars for example. I don’t know what’s going on there. AT ALL. About the ONLY things I know how to do are pop open the trunk for groceries, prop up the hood so that someone else can poke around beneath it to figure out what’s wrong with it… and fill my own washer fluid. And the only reason I know how to take care of the washer fluid is because I go through about a gallon a week tailgating other drivers like I do.

Yesterday I experienced one of those “I-really-need-a-man-to-do-this-for-me-moments” when I had to put air in a couple of my tires that were low. It was my lunch hour… I was wearing heels… It was 18 degrees outside… In blizzard conditions… Snowing like a sonofabitch. Oh and I’d somehow managed to leave my Carhartts and ski mask at home.

Standing ankle-deep in frozen, muddy, gas station slush, struggling in gale-force winds to fill up my tires I must have looked every bit of a pathetic wretch because out of nowhere a man shows up (appropriately dressed for the harsh weather of course) and gently but firmly takes the hose from me as he says: “Honey, let me do that for you. You don’t need to be doing this. Look at the way you’re dressed.”

And you wanna know what I said?

“OK! Thank you soooo much sir!”

As I crawled back inside the shelter and embrace of my warm car and my cursing of Mother Nature ceased — I smiled to myself thinking just how nice it will be to permanently have a man around in the very near future. One who doesn’t mind braving the elements to fix a flat, change the oil and fill the washer fluid.