"It's as if a great bird lives inside the stone of our days and since no sculptor can free it, it has to wait for the elements to wear us down, till it is free to fly." Mark Nepo

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Waiting in the Wings

As winter hangs on like a bad cold, refusing to give over to the solstice any sooner than it absolutely has to, I find myself edgy, exhausted and having a harder and harder time being a good sport about the lateness of spring.

Most years in the Pacific Northwest, Winter bows gallantly and gives over to Spring well before the calendar crowns her Queen. At the very least, he'll take a day off here and there so she can begin to stretch her wings. 

Not happening this year - at least not recently enough  or long enough to count. My violets, the wild ones that always let me know in February spring is coming, have only started to bloom for serious this week. And it's a puny lot - six shivering blossoms where there should be too many to count - so many that the ground radiates purple. 

My longing for fresh green anything, kissing warm air, happy bared feet is physical. And short of flying to Hawaii, I'm stuck with waiting. And trusting. And finding ways to spend the time in happiness rather than suffocating myself with frustration - or fear that winter will never end.

So I go for long, intense walks searching for reasons to celebrate. And when everything else fails or stales, I know I can find some bit of hope and relief with creatures of the air.

Robins congregate and hunt and claim territory with wild declarative chirpings. A song sparrow stretches to his full possibility at the top of a rhododendron and sings an aria guaranteed to bring down the house (or at least bring in a mate). And just yesterday I saw the first swallows of the season swooping over the river in what looked like a homecoming waltz.

Last week, after walking my kids to the buses, I stopped to enjoy a rare and short-lived bit of sun-blessed warmth. A flash of movement in the sky drew my eyes upward. Two bald eagles glided overhead, twirling and swirling in an elaborate dance with currents invisible to human experience. 

For the briefest of seconds I considered hurrying on to the endless tasks of teaching that called to me from my room. I've seen baldies so often recently that it would have been easy to dismiss these two as ordinary. But I didn't. It would have seemed disloyal somehow to not stop and pay homage to my messenger birds. So I stood still while kids pushed around me like a spring river rushing around a boulder. I absorbed both the surprising heat of the new sun and the comforting familiarity of sky royalty going about their business, oblivious to their impact on earthbound, winterbound mortals.

I cannot have the enough of spring's pregnant abundance just yet. The enough of summer's hyperbole of lushness is months away still. And so for now I feed my hunger with the enough of simple beings with wings whose presence is a promise that cannot be broken. 

photo from Flickr


Carrie Wilson Link said...

Gorgeous! And love the image of your kids rushing around you like water around a boulder. Every teacher can relate to that!

kario said...

Something special about the bald eagles for you. The one we saw at the beach was there for you, I know it was.

Love you.

Angie Ledbetter said...

Birds have always seemed like special messengers to me too. Sending you some of the gorgeous warm spring weather we're already having here, and some happy bare feet.

Great title!

Kathryn Magendie said...

The Bradford Pear are all abloom here, as the forsynthia is blooming as well - I keep hoping a late snow and freeze won't come and kill the blooms as it did year before last! ohhh!~

(Did we talk about Portland, or am I dreaming or was it someone else?)

M said...

I love the way you always paint such a beautiful picture of the ordinary things of life. I'm glad you are learning to pause and see the glory of this world that surrounds us. It's a lesson I need to learn for myself.



Jerri said...

So glad you followed your messengers. Hope they reminded you of the flights and the freedom to come.

And it will, Deb. It will. Like Spring, not soon enough, but it will come.

She said...

I hope this week, the breath of the warm beach sun kisses your face each and every day!