Andie and I are spending a little more time on the bed than usual of a Sunday morning, especially since the bed is brand new and perfect in every way and for the first time in years my uncomfortable nights atop the plywood-sheet supported by milk crates are over. We spend some time on the bed throughout the day because I now nap in the afternoons and Andie likes to play there, pretty much claiming the room her own. Testimony to that is the fact that her toys seem to end up there on occasion, as if claiming home in her floor day bed, which serves as her storage unit, especially when she gets an apple treat and wants to eat it later.
If she thinks like I do and I doubt her reasons for so doing are entirely the same, but we do share the wonders that appear in the garden beyond the large viewing window that opens along side the bed. The seasons come and go, and their complexities are simplified by my sense of wonder, undiminished by age and circumstance. For Andie, whose senses are so vastly superior to mine it’s an incredible world out there, one mostly invisible to me. She is aware of every living thing that transects the garden territory and takes her rest by standing with her paws on the window, watching doves feed at the tsubai, which missing its Japanese tea garden, now serves as a bird bath.
I have always been a fan of Winter and snow. In early days it was skiing in Colorado and in later days finding joy in the adventures of living in a very old Vermont farmhouse. Here, in the cottage it’s watching Winter with its dark barren, sgraffito complex of intertwined wild plum branches silhouetted against a cold gray sky. In that view are the most beautiful subtleties, especially on a clear moonlit night. I still have that child’s conundrum of trying to decide if I’m really seeing black or dark colors.
Then Spring begins to whisper with little showings of change. When the temperature begins to warm up, tiny buds began to form on the old plums and later the sunsets reveal that the trees seem to glow with a scrim of golden green energy. Then the sounds of the marsh frogs can be heard, reclaiming their ancient lagoons as do the herons and egrets finding what’s left of them through the terraforming massacres of viticulture. That is absolutely thrilling. In a week or two the miraculous pleasure of watching the old trees flush with white blossoms emitting that dry musty fragrance is rapturous, especially in the moonlight.
What an incredible and beautiful Spring it has been this year. One positive aspect of global warming in our little valley has been that Spring is now about 6 weeks early. In the middle of February, Plum, Cherry, Crab Apple and Peach blossoms are a riot of color. Tulips, Daffodils are poking up out of the ground and fragrant Daphne perfume the air. With temperatures hovering in the high 70’s Andie and I took our holiday gift card down to the local nursery and bought some blue/purple Violas (Trace loved them because his mother’s name was Viola), some yellow Pansies, A dark pink Quince and some rose bushes.
Andie is a natural at gardening, not because she is fixated on P. Allen Smith’s gardening show (http://pallensmith.com/) and its exquisitely crafted charm of the old South’s best features or because it so reminds me of its Yankee cousin—the farmhouse in Bennington Vermont.
Rather, Andie’s enthusiasms stem from discovering gopher critters living in an embankment while making our way and hunting street ‘stuff’ ( like cigi butts and gum wads—still!) on the way to the Methodist church around the corner. Now she finds gophers everywhere and digs like a maniac. So, to wit, Gopher Girl can sense them like an X-Ray technician . Everywhere she digs a hole in the garden I plant something and then spray with Panther pee (what ever) guaranteed to repel everything within two blocks of the house. As a result, we had to wait three days until the rain drained away the stench that approximated the aroma of a zombie hoard. I’ve got to think of something else. Any suggestions?
Andie and I celebrated our favorite holiday this month—–Valentine’s Day, except when that strange Rabbit rolls away the stone from the tomb and finds a whole basket full of scrumptious SEE’s Easter egg chocolates. It’s gets confusing and I try to explain the theory of fusion to Andie. We made about a dozen ‘HELLO KITTY” cards to send to our dear friends, far and near:
Today is a typical hang-loose Sunday. I write and as usual Andie eats the leftover English muffin crumbs. She then retires to the studio day bed and probably dreams of that fabulous wad of gum I missed and she snagged before I looked back and found a 6′ long stretch of it trailing from her tiny mouth. Andie is my eternal Spring full of wonders, changes and as close to hope as I may ever know.