Yesterday, as I climbed a long ridge, the hot sun poured down through still-leafless branches. Sweat dripped off my face, ran down my belly, made my arms glisten. The trillium aren’t even in bloom yet, and it was in the low 80s. I came off the trail pining for salad: this one in particular, but anything lettucy and crunchy and tasting of spring would have been fine. I thought with a touch of dismay about the groceries I’d just bought to cover the week’s cooking, and the decidedly wintery tone to the menu. Who wants to eat chard and white bean stew or roasted chicken when the sun shines hotly and the air smells like it did yesterday, full of warm dirt and wet, new green?
Well, my meal-planning self remembers what the rest of my brain is apt to forget in these moments of sunny rapture: spring is a fickle beast. Last night, a storm moved through, stomping on the roof, soaking the sills of the still-open windows, and pruning forty degrees from the thermometer’s reading. When I went out at lunchtime today, I put on my warmest coat and a toboggan. April, that clever month, keeps my tank tops and my heavy wool in equal rotation through the laundry basket. I find it less amusing than she does.
As I write this, snow flurries whip past my window, borne on a unrelenting, cold wind. The pea plants on my desk look a little smug, being on this side of the glass. I’m glad that I’ve managed to squash every sunny-day urge to start our little patio garden–delicate seedlings aren’t made to weather April’s whims.
I know people who think the appearance of seed catalogs in the mailbox in dark January is one of life’s cruelties. But April seems worse: it’s so close, that sandal-wearing, fingers-in-the-ground weather, but the frost warnings aren’t quite done, and your warm coat is still at the front of the hall closet.
April’s caprices are an apt metaphor for where we now stand: we’re chomping at the bit to get moving, to find/build/restore/remodel a home, to put into practice what we’ve only been reading about. To whittle down our life to a smaller, richer timetable of seasonal tasks. But the time isn’t right, yet. Where we are isn’t bad–just as, even windy and cold, today is beautiful–and I can actually forget about my own impatience from time to time. April is just one month out of twelve, and I’ll be moaning about the heat before you know it. Today–still on the shiftwork, fulltime paycheck hook, still renting someone else’s house–will one day be the April we look back on, with its pleasures and its frustrations side by side, day after day.
It’s hard, but I can wait.