Time seems to spin by more quickly in these shortened days of winter. I always feel like I need a lot more sleep to balance the increased darkness. More time in the light, too, though that is hard to come by just now. The weather has changed. We had what felt like (and may well have been) weeks of cold clear days, when frost lay heavy until almost noon and goldenrose light painted the sides of buildings and even the sidewalks. Mornings were cold and clear and crystalline in that winter way, all streaks and puffs of pink clouds and golden light spilling over everything from far away. Now the weather has softened into rain, clouded pthalo and lilac sky lit up by the city at night. These dark winter evenings are perhaps best spent close to the stove, stirring, chopping, filling the baseboard cool of the house with warm fragrance. Last night the wind roared and threw itself at our small house. From the darkness of our bed in the morning hours I could still hear it howling in from the ocean and I knew then that it had blown all night, tossing and turning through my dreams.
For weeks, I've exchanged comments with coworkers, relatives, and random passers-bys on how it sure feels like summer. Today I clued in to the fact that summer is underway all around me. The garden is now a lush place where we go in the evenings to peruse the makings of dinner and to watch a hummingbird play in the tiny sprinkler. I've come home sun-reddened on several occasions. Today I stood in the ocean with sea anemones and limpets near my toes. There has been a lot of work in my life lately, so much so that my time at home has focused narrowly on washing dishes, lying on the floor and feeding the cat. Old age has been a dream come true for Heidi/Pudding cat; she's lost a lot of weight so we feed her wet food every time she yowls at us or sits in the kitchen looking expectant or follows us around looking lost.
Work this past week has been improved by the following: a USB-powered salt lamp for my desk, homemade pistachio vanilla bean ice cream from an awesome coworker, and a photo of another coworker's enormous cat. It has also improved greatly by my not having to be there today.
I must be getting older because I'm having urges to clean this house and pull weeds. Baking and painting and reading would be nice too.
The rabbits are sneaking up on the houseplant behind me. The cat is at the door, scratching first on the inside, then on the outside. The other cat is on the couch trying to convince J to nap with her. Just a normal evening at our house. The sun descended behind the sky's ragged hem of blue mountains, all streaks of pink and orange fire framed by branches yet to leaf out. This morning it did the same thing but in reverse and with a great deal more magenta.
We drove out to the lagoon to look at birds through battered binoculars. Ever-present and yet-to-be-properly -identified gulls wheeled around and hopped playfully on the beach of broken shells. Mallards, pintails and widgeons dabbled in shallow water in the late afternoon light. In a moment that was like a rush of breath, two swans flew in close over our heads and then disappeared on the horizon, their graceful bodies huge. It felt like a gift.
Recently, I had a thirty-minute wait after work before J came by with the car. I found a bench in the sun and sat quietly with myself, the sun in my eyes and its warmth on my skin. I have fallen out of the habit of daily meditation, and it felt so good to come back to myself there, the warmth and light of spring awakening me too to the present. We have gotten lazy about our evening yoga too, but small poses work their way through my body in the course of the day.
Today when I got home, I found a sunbeam. I carried blankets and pillows to where the floor in the front hallway was a crisscross of light and painted relief of many years' scratches. Spring here is so delicious this year. It is everything I hope for in a spring. I know it's early for most of the country but these are the rhythms I was raised with and I often found myself impatient with the mountains' slow melt and fickle reruns of winter.
Over the past couple days, I have done almost nothing. In a way, that's a huge relief. I've just been lazing around the house, mostly in bed or at the kitchen table with my feet tucked up on the heater. I've been reading this, and looking for DIY wedding ideas here. My cold/flu is waning and I am gradually feeling stronger. I braved the mild spring air for a brief walk to our local bakery for milk (being home sick without milk for coffee was too dreadful a prospect), and somehow while I was lying with my eyes closed in the grey half-light of a room with curtains closed in the afternoon, with the cries of gulls punctuating the quiet passage of time, the next stages of spring were unfurling outside. I walked outside into a street full of cherry blossoms. At the bakery, it seemed silly to just buy milk so I bought sourdough spelt sandwich bread too, which is delicious. The excellence of our neighborhood's wood-fired, sourdough, local-grain-using bakery has resulted in my own little sourdough culture languishing in the fridge. I feel guilty thinking about when I last fed it, or longer ago still, baked with it.
While I've been writing this from my customary blanket on the floor with the rabbits roaming around, one set of headphones were the sad casualty of one rabbit (Zephyr, of course) being left with our computers while we intervened with and separated a catnip-ed out cat (Michette - who had until this point been on her best behavior) and a naive and curious rabbit (Seven, naturally). Now, J and I are going to practice dancing- a kind and patient friend is teaching us and we are hoping to show improvement at our next dinner and lesson together.