February’s Boring

February smells of earth awakening. The fragrance of wet leaves, decaying wood, and fresh turned soil comes out with the warming sun. In the evening, dogs in the neighborhood are beginning to show bravado by barking at every snapping twig. In winter, they’re not so motivated to remove their noses from their bellies and uncurl off the front porch rug unless it’s the possibility of being invited indoors. These are some of the signs that spring is about to open up a few windows and let some fresh air in.

There is not much happening in February; it’s the month that is the pause before all else begins. It is the clock ticking waiting for the guests to arrive. Yet soon we will lose our view across the Ozarks when the leaves fill out the trees and draw the curtain closed. Soon the Redbuds will appear and the Dogwoods will follow over lapping them. Soon fishing season will begin, guys will finally be out of the house and their wives will be glad to be rid of them. Soon the Daffodils will bloom in spots just off the road revealing where a homestead once stood. I always wonder who she was that did the planting. I don’t know why but I always think of the person as female. I automatically like them too because anyone who thinks it important enough to spend time planting flowers has got to be a mind one can reason with. The grass is showing signs of green that will then be backed by green bushes that will be backed by green trees that will be backed by blue sky.

The sun hangs in the sky close to 7PM now and I’ve got my tomato and pepper seed starters going in little trays with onions and Jerusalem artichokes already in the ground. My wife’s helping me more this year and her lettuces and snap peas are beginning to come up. I finally pulled those tall weeds that came up towards the end of the hot summer when I lost my wind for gardening and felt like superman with a piece of kryptonite in his pocket.
Now that the soil in the main plot has been tilled and raked smooth I imagine myself as a painter before a blank canvas. I’m read up on last years mistakes and am ready to launch into the garden with new hope that the folks from the Garden and Gun magazine will happen to drive by and slam on their brakes just to see what I have going on. I’m shrinking down my garden space in half again from last year and the year before and still trying to find the balance of how much square footage my body can handle. With my wife helping me more this year we may just have a garden that has defined pathways like those in the gardening shows on TV.

Our daughter and her husband along with our 2 grandchildren escaped California and have moved in with us for a time until they find the perfect place of their own. The sounds in the house are familiar from when my wife and I were young parents and once again I walk through the house stepping on Cheerios in the morning and cold peas at night. I believe there are enough Cheerio crumbs produced in a week that I could wheelbarrow them out and use them as landfill to level the erosion in my yard. We have sudden screams and drama breaking out several times a day over things like fallen blocks or food not being cut just the right way. Our granddaughter is of the Tivo generation so she doesn’t understand what commercials are, she thinks her show just decided to end in midstream…. more drama. Bill Cosby once said, “Before my wife and I had children, we were intellectuals”. So even though I suspect that cartoons with my morning coffee will bring on dementia and though by the end of the day my wife and I flop into bed sometimes too exhausted to say goodnight, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love the easel blocking the back French-doors with scattered crayons and piles of toys everywhere to step on. Because along with all those things is a little voice saying my name, “Papa”. There are giggles and good mornings and soft-spoken night nights. There are questions and conversations in broken gibberish with mispronounced words. At the front door there are tiny shoes parked next to big ones with miniature coats hanging on the hooks. There are colorful books lying around with extra thick pages telling stories of a world filled with talking animals, candy flowers and happy endings. The times that ended too soon with our last child shutting the door and leaving home are back but for a moment and I want to soak it in and not let the photographs fade this time.

A year has passed since I first started my blog and it’s the anniversary of our 3rd year here. Life changed dramatically for us when we came here and soon after the world also changed for everyone in a fearsome way. 

There have been times when it was difficult to write about simple things in the face of such dark clouds. Some have even accused me of painting my stories with too many bright colors and leaving out the black and grays. But even in the midst of wars and rumors of wars, there are flowers that bloom along the road and there is the fresh smell of sheets and shirts on a sunny clothesline.  Sometimes we need to be reminded that those things are still here to bring us back from the shadows and drive away the sorrows of the world.

In the coming year I plan to write using some black and grays but not too much and not unless I can follow it with color. So a slight change but not too much.

I apologize for getting this letter out a month late but having children in the house again is a real mind bender and I could swear that the sun sets just moments after it rises. With a full house I may not get these letters out once a month for a while, but hey, I may even surprise myself.

Many of you have been long time friends who started receiving these letters 3 years ago as direct emails others came along since I started this blog last year. Either way I want to thank every one of you for taking the time to read my ramblings and even passing them on.

May the road rise up to meet you and the wind always be at your back to give you good gas mileage.

Published in: on March 30, 2011 at 8:26 pm  Comments (9)  

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9 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I have a vivid image in my mind of your crowded, cluttered, child-filled home right now. I do hope that you and Cathy can enjoy it while it lasts…and that it doesn’t last too long for you to enjoy it! 🙂

    • At least we have our own bedroom and bathroom. The kids have one bedroom with a queen, a bunk bed and a crib along with a dresser and nightstand…. Ouch!

  2. Oh how I love it, so much. I love to read your writings. Thank you! And Happy April Fools Birthday to you in a couple days!!

    • Thank YOU Diana and yes it’s my Bday on the 1st, thank you for the glad tidings.

      Since I was 11 I’ve been waiting to hear someone come up with a new joke about that being my Bday but I remain disappointed that I’ve heard nothing new in over 40 years. It’s a hard one, I’ve come up with nothing either.

  3. Love it !! Enjoy every minute of it…despite the caos !
    Happy HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my favorite cousin !!!!!!!
    I love you !!!

    • Thank you and thank you!!!
      But you know since we’re so close, you don’t count like my mother doesn’t count; you’re suppose to love everything I do. Armpit farts, long distant loogie launching, the amazing detached floating thumb trick, the rubber pencil trick…… Wow, I guess I am pretty amazing!!

      Love you too!

  4. Very precious. I do long some days for the time when our kids were little, there is such an innocence during that time in life.

    • Yes. Life doesn’t just seem to go by fast, life really does go by fast.

  5. Hey Cuz, I think your writing is getting better and better. This is such a treat each month. I hope you will continue to write amongst the cherios and peas!

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