Twice a day, my path takes me down the rugged levee road known as Jackson Slough.
Old trees rise from the rough levee. A long swathe of blue water stands below the berm. I look into the branches as I pass. A hawk huddles against the spring wind. I feel his pain.
The change of season tugs at my heart. In Kansas City, the flowering trees which dot the old neighborhoods will just be shaking the last brief snow from their fragile white veils. The wide umbrella maples of my old street raise their leafy arms to the sun’s bright kiss. Dogwalkers emerge from their bungalows and greet neighbors whom they haven’t seen since everyone hunkered down for the winter. This spring’s shedding of crusty cocoons will seem especially poignant because they’ve skipped three seasons in between.
I miss that ritual. On the tiny house row in my northern California RV park, winter barely touched our lives. Neighbors continue walking their dogs around the calendar. That Midwestern ritual of shedding winter layers and eagerly donning sandals for the first time has little meaning here.
Still, the warming of our days brings a certain lightening of mood even here, where boats stay on the river until late October and launch again before Easter. I’ve cleaned my house and shaken the dust from the basket of sweaters under my bed. I’m battling mites on the gardenia bush and studying the jade plant to make sure January’s windstorms didn’t unduly damage its majestic contours. My potted tulips have finished their bloom. The hanging plants on my trellis have begun to unfold the first new blossoms of the year.
On Jackson Slough two mornings ago, I stopped to gaze at a crow against the pale blueness of the western sky. As I raised my camera, he took flight into the wispy clouds. I sighed with something close to envy; then continued my earthbound journey to the grocery store across the Sacramento River by way of the Rio Vista Bridge.
It’s the twenty-sixth day of the eighty-eighth month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.