Outside it looks like a milky-white afternoon, the white pine branches waving to me like green puppets on invisible strings, up and down...up and down...loosely dangling, at times bursting forth with a rolling simmer, ridding its branches of old pine cones and such. All the while the black pines stand staunchly like arthritic sentries, facing the early spring wind gusts boldly, almost stoically. I can almost hear them murmur, "Get it over with, wind, we're ready for spring."
I venture outside, bundled up in sweats, hat, gloves and a resigned attitude. No way am I staying out here very long. Iím only here to get a bit of fresh air. Heading for the gravelled driveway, I pass a majestic white pine being roughed about by the forceful winds. I look up to where its soft green head bobs to and fro in the chalky background. A rose-breasted mourning dove takes wing, aiming for a bare redbud tree nearby. Performing a high wire act, it awkwardly lights on a branch and takes a moment or two to settle in. "Well," I said to the dove, "thatís what you get for leaving the shelter of that nice snuggly pine."
Reaching the end of the driveway, I peer down into the ditch, half-filled with run-off from the road and nearby fields. You would never believe that crayfish live down in there. It looks so gravelly and stark, a scrawny weed of two for cover. But the grey chimneys offer real evidence that something is in residence. Perhaps they are ghost crayfish; "ponies" for little people to ride; visual echoes of the earthís screams as the coal mining industry rips apart its turf. Who knows? But there they are, deep down, alive, viable, surfacing only in the shadows of time, doing what they must do in order to survive. Maybe they belong to the same locals as the moles and voles. Maybe theyíre just shy. I ponder if perhaps the birds know who these chimney diggers are, but theyíre not talking.
Whoops! Iíve just stepped into a soggy mole hill, up to my ankles and sinking down as I quickly flip forward towards solid ground. The front yard has been severely abused this winter. I donít mind sharing the yard with moles if they would only be more mindful of those who come after them. Eat all the grubs you want, but put the dirt back where you found it. Oh, yes. They say they are copycatting the coal miners. Oh, well, what can I say to divert that?
Well, lookee here! The lilacs are budding out! I knew I came out here for some reason. There will be sweet smells on the south side of the house this spring. Also the yellow daffodils have announced their presence amongst the dried brown leaves. I remain amazed how a dried bulb can be buried in 4-5 inches of soil for six months and suddenly erupt with such glorious splendor. Which leads me to the greatest miracle of all...how a dead body can erupt into life eternal someday...when it is time.
Have a nice day and Iím heading for the house for a cup of hot chocolate.