We’ll, I know this will sound completely stereotypical, but I’m going to attempt it anyway. I am going to my 30 year high school reunion in June; six week from now. It will be the first one I attend, as they are in Florida, and I have always had a decent excuse not to go. Thirty years seems like a significant number, so I decided to participate this year. After the rude awakening of struggling into my dry-suite last week, I took a critical look at myself in the mirror. Hmmm… Yes, I have some work to do. It all comes down to eat less and exercise more. Today I started exercising again. I followed a workout video, a toning video, and walked on the treadmill (it was too cold and wet outside to want to go for a walk). It does feel good to work those lazy muscles. Feel the next day’s fabulous ache of muscles that have worked hard. I usually start working out in February to get ready from rafting season, but this past winter was all fubar so it just didn’t happen. Better late than never though, so we’ll see what determination and dedication can do for me in six weeks time, when I will be in hot sunny Florida wearing short dresses and a bikini.
Yoga feels wonderful in the morning; stretching out all the muscles and joints, clearing and calming your mind, waking up the spirit, and invigorating your body with deep breath. I am paying special attention to my wrist, bending and stretching it in all directions, and putting weight on it. It still hurts, but it is getting better every day. Little Black Cat likes morning yoga too. As soon as she sees the first down dog, she comes trotting over to rub her sleek body between my arms and legs, purring and cooing. Once I am on the floor, Lily Cat runs over and starts sprinting laps around me, hopping over my out-stretched legs and rubbing my against my thighs. They both want to be petted and loved, chirp and flopping down in the wiggle worm way cats do. It seems to be a fun game they play. Kitty cat yoga helper brighten up any morning.
As I was driving to the post office on this chilly dreary day, I passed a mowed field next to a house. At the end of the field near the edge where the tall brown stalks from last year were standing, there was a pair of Canada Geese just standing around the way geese do. Something else caught my eye as as I passed, so much was my attention grabbed, that I stopped and backed up to see if what I thought I saw was true. And behold, it was! Blending in to the surrounding brown grasses, was a little red fox standing near the edge in the overgrown dead weeds considering the geese. I rolled the window down to see better through the dripping rain. The fox would move a little in one direction and the geese would move a little in the opposite direction. They were both so preoccupied with each other, they did not notice my car stopped on the road with me watching them. At one point the furry red fox even shook its cream colored wet head, its long full winter coat shaking in a very dog like manner. The wary geese did not want to give up ground, and the timid fox must have been exceptionally hungry to think about taking on two full grown geese, although it may have been looking for goslings. I believe there must not have even been a nest yet, or the geese would not have tolerated the fox so close. Neither party made any bold moves, they just slowly paced back and forth in a soggy stand off. Eventually the fox gave up and trotted off, quickly disappearing into the wild sodden field. That was one of the most amazing things I have seen so far this year!
Last night I waited until dark to bring in the bird feeders. During the winter I just leave them out overnight, but in the spring they have to come in at night or they become bear feeders. When I stepped out onto the porch, my first impression was the feel of damp warmish air and the smell of wet earth as it had been raining all day and supposedly continuing for the next few days. The next sense was of a raging roaring creek just beyond the tree line across the road. The dense air seemed to be alive with the vibration of the rapids. Then I noticed a sweet sound that is quintessential Spring. The little peepers were peeping. I could hear their clear squeaking call above the din of the rushing water. I imagined small green frogs just waking up from a long winter sleep and basking in the relative warmth of the spring rain, hiding in dark green shallow puddles, and singing loudly for a mate in the purple overcast sunset twilight. I stood on the porch for a long time just listening, breathing, and smiling.
We got rain last night, supposed to rain off and on all day. I woke up several times and listened to it quietly drumming on the roof, soothing me back to sleep. Although the soggy grey sky seemed to imply frigid air like last week, when I stepped outside, I found the temperature to be cool, but not unpleasant. The rain is only water, not full of ice pellets and wet snowflakes. Spring is finally here, hopefully to stay. But the brightest ray of excited joyfulness was noticing that the grass had turned green overnight. Yesterday, while picking gravel rock out of the yard and tossing them back into the driveway where they came from, I had seen small hints of green grass under the dead matted brown grass stems from last year and had been thinking that soon the whole yard would be green again. Now, today, after four days of intense warm spring sunshine, and then a nice bit of gentle spring rain, then grass has turned green! Its a spring time miracle I look forward to every year! Breath deeply, the smell of wet earth and newly green growing things just waking up from their long winter sleep. Aaaaahhhhhhh……… I feel reborn.
In an effort to exercise and strengthen my wrist, and to exercise my long suffering extended winter blues demons, I took a kayak over to North South Lake. I haven’t been there since Winter Solstice when I hiked to Palenville Overlook in the frozen snow. The lake was starting to freeze over at that point. I knew it had to be clear now that it had been sunny and warm, and all the little ponds and creeks in the area are ice free. There is still some snow in the low shadowy places in the woods, and up at the higher elevations, but for the most part we are down to brown bare ground. Muscle memory and physics got me into the boat without even getting my feet wet and then propelled me across the water. Rhythmic paddle strokes back and forth, wind blowing my hat over my face, sun glaring off the water momentarily blinding me in the kindest way. Freedom is the open water, a kayak bow pointing toward distant mountains propped against a bright blue sky, a solitary paddler first on the water. I paddled until my body ached in that glorious way muscled do when they are worked with joyous intentions. I floated, let the stiff sharp breeze push my little floating craft across the surface and into shore. I basked in the sunshine warm on my skin, smelled the wet earth smell of a lake coming back to life after a long cold winter, watched mergansers, ducks, and geese swimming, paddling furiously through the choppy water. I become a small part of this awakening lake, immersed in the rhythm of spring, entwined in the fabric of Mother Nature’s radiant web. After the splendid paddle, when I got back to my car, a wondrous random thing happened. I ran into an old rafting friend (and her boyfriend) who I had not seen in a couple of years. It just happened to be her birthday; they had travel to the Catskills for a couple of days of birthday getaway. So I invited them over to my house for an impromptu birthday cookout. Our first cookout of the year! We sat on the porch eating burgers and talking as the sky clouded over and the sun set. It is truly a remarkable and sublime world we live in.
I drove home today after a leisurely morning. Day broke cold and sunny, the birds waking at dawn to serenade the sun as it thrust its way over the eastern horizon and filled the slumbering Adirondack forest with shining yellow and radiant gold sun beams, casting tall, wavering, thin blue tree shadows across the intermittently snow covered forest floor. The day warmed up quickly as I traveled south to another doctor appointment in Albany. I parked several blocks away in a free lot and walked across a college campus full of daffodils blooming and young college students full of promise and dreams. I enjoyed the sun, the heat, and (oddly enough) the noise and chaos of the city as it juxtaposed itself in my brain to the serenity and hushed secretive tones of the forest I had been in mere hours earlier. Later, at home in my own piece of tranquility in the Catskills, I found myself standing in the yard, spinning slowly surveying the sky in all directions. Not a single wispy white cloud could be seen anywhere. The sky was a crystal blue dome wondrous to behold, bright, stunning and divine in its open cerulean endlessness, infinite possibilities.