All Bluster and Bustle and Sweet Anticipation

March has been busy blowing herself right out of our lives the past couple days. I imagine April close behind, pushing, nudging, maybe sighing as she tries to take her place in the spotlight, March digging in her heels and leaving scuff marks on the stage. No one in the Midwest is sad to see the end of March, and we delight to greet April, that understated, delicate being who always remembers to bring flowers with her. March was still a lion yesterday, gusting and raining and snowing all at once. Perhaps April is our lamb.

I find myself wondering if it is too late to start seeds inside. I’m thrilled to pieces that the leaves are already off the garden and that there is so little to do in the yard now in the early spring. I used to get this manic feeling this time of year, writing up lists of all the things I needed to get done outside before it got too late in the spring. But now, everything’s done. I’m excited to see how my expanded shade garden fills in this year. I anxiously await the first opening buds on my baby redbud tree, hoping it has weathered the very cold winter. I don’t know how many more summers we will have in this house, so I intend to consciously enjoy this one. That will likely translate to lots of pictures of the gardens, so I hope you’ll indulge me when I share them here.

At this moment my yard is swiftly switching between bright and dim, the long shadows cast by tall maple trees and dead ash trees blinking on and off as air currents far above send the clouds skittering across the sky. Across the ground, last year’s crispy brown leaves take a similar trip, bouncing and swirling about like scattering rabbits. There’s hardly a thing out there worth a photo. But there is rain and some warmth in the forecast — just what those dormant roots in the garden have been waiting for.

Winter is here, so why not enjoy it already?

After an extremely snowy weekend, today dawned clear and cold. Oh, who am I kidding? I didn’t actually get up before dawn. But it has been a sunny morning and all the world is covered in a soft blanket of white snow. My Samoyed/German Shepherd mix, Sasha, loves it.

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From inside my home office with the space heater at my feet and an unending supply of great coffee, I can enjoy days like this in ways that daily commuters may not be able to. So many of my friends, coworkers, and acquaintances despise Michigan in the winter. Perhaps, when they look out at the snow, they only see this:

Yes, the roads are a bit slick out there, but there are some simple lessons to be learned from winter. Start early, take it slow, steer into the skid, and maybe get yourself some new tires once in a while.

Seems like there might be some writing advice in there too…

Winter isn’t interested in bustling about. It isn’t concerned with appointments or ladder climbing or making a mark on the world, beyond footprints in the snow or an occasional snow angel.

Winter is about waiting, regrouping, hibernating, anticipating. Winter waits for Christmas. Winter waits for spring. Winter sits still for a while and enjoys itself.

Winter says, “Make a fire. Eat rich food. Sip some cocoa. Listen to some music.”

Winter says, “Just as the grass is there waiting beneath the snow, life will still be there tomorrow. It will wait. For now, enjoy yourself.”

Winter says, “I won’t last forever. So rest while you can.”

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