Thursday, April 16, 2009
These spring days in April are wonderfully tantalizing. Though there is a bite in the harsh winds left from winter, the sun is delicious. It's strong and warm, like a good yellow mustard that surprises you in a sandwich. Everything is coming alive and gathering strength for the full roar of summer. During the winter, I would look out of the windows and count a day's meager ration of birds, a few chickadees, a couple of nuthatches. A good day might have brought a flurry of Pine siskins, though plentiful, dull in color. Now, suddenly the birds are everywhere! And the colors are astonishing - bright yellow Goldfinches, red Cardinals, even the Blue Jays look bluer. Black and white birds, like these Common Eiders are sharply contrasty in checkerboard feathers. Chasing after one another, they kick up silver splashes of water like fist-fulls of diamonds thrown across the surface. The hens dive and hustle away, sometimes biting back to keep the drakes at bay. I don't know why some of them don't just drown from exhaustion. The whole world has erupted in frenzied colors and displays. "Look! We're here!" shout the flowers and the birds. After a winter of listlessness, I feel full of energy, too. It's very easy to overdo with a rake.When I start cleaning out gardens it seems as if I've got to do it all at once, to make room for the tender little shoots to push toward the sun. Each day, something new comes up. The face of the garden changes as often as every few hours. I don't want to miss a thing because I left it too long to languish in last year's brown debris. David is positively intoxicated with the elixir of longer days, too. He has already painted one side of the house, put in a new kitchen faucet and painted a set of Adirondak chairs. He has a spectacular energy level; it's like living with a chipmunk. He wakes before first light and begins hauling tools out for projects. He'll start to trim with hand clippers, see a bigger shrub that requires the larger Electric Man Pruners, get those out along with five miles of extension cords, tangle them all over the yard, get out a step ladder, then an extension ladder, pull all the rakes out of the shed looking for a spade, leave half a bag of fertilizer on the front steps, and a tarp for leaves to be snatched by the wind. While doing this, he will have put on a ball cap, taken it off and thrown it into a chair, replaced it with a second one and repeated this process until there are six or seven of them scattered around the property. A little 'Wife Game' I play with myself is to count how many of them I put back on the rack every day. A good day is at least six. In a full blown thrash, he's been going at this pace nonstop for two weeks. At sixty three, he does not understand why he is tired already and it's not yet Memorial Day. Today, in response to his dismay at being exhausted, I did something I've never done before; I took away his tools. That had the effect of throwing a bucket of water on a flaming squirrel. Smoldering, he continued to run around, more aimlessly, but with plenty of energy. Now, I'll have to come up with another plan just to keep him from hurting himself. In the mean time, I will watch the antics of the birds, the flowers unfolding, and the skies for possible rain.
"Hey! Beat it! That's my girl!"
"Listen, both of you clowns back off!"