Friday, March 13, 2015

Raining Spring: In Which I Am the Polar Bear

After a few occasions in which the sky dumped snow and the night froze said snow solid for several days, spring may finally be setting in. At least I hope it is. I have woken up to find sunlight and bird song outside my window, only to have it cruelly snatched away by daylight savings. Thus, I am more than ready for spring, for flowers, for tall grass, and even for the allergies that come from all of those blooming plants.

Our last snow and freeze was, admittedly, fun. In many areas of the yard, the ice was thick enough to hold my weight. I located especially smooth areas and let myself be a child again for a little while. Lying down with my back on the glass-like surface and breathing in the cold air, I contemplated the sky of a frozen Faerie Land. Moments later, I was sliding around in little half circles and giggling. There is no point in being grown-up if you can't stop and be a child at times. I also went about on my hands and knees saying "I am the polar bear!" I do not know why. It just happened. Occasionally, I would attempt to find weak spots in the ice and break it by slamming my "front paws" into it, like an actual polar bear might do. This didn't work quite as well as I had hoped, since usually it was my knees or backside that broke the ice instead, at which point my cry was "I am the fat polar bear!" because no polar bear breaks the ice that way.

Children play games where they pretend to be something or someone other than what they are. It's not something they plan out. They just do it. As we get older, we lose this ability. It becomes harder to shed our skins, to simply play. But maybe hope isn't lost for the grownups. Perhaps we can still step outside ourselves; it just takes a little magic.

The snow melt was beautiful. Light reflected off of the remaining sheets, illuminating falling drops and providing contrast to the vibrant green grass slowly being revealed. Taking my freshly charged camera, I set out once more to take some pictures.

Temperatures rose a few days ago. The little frogs began to sing again. Deciding to take a break, I trekked through the still muddy field into the woods. I hadn't journeyed far, when my cat, who had been following me at a distance, stood on her hind feet and stared intently at something over the hill. I had to walk a few yards to see what had attracted her attention, her litter-mate and my sister's cat, Shadow. Once he saw me, he decided to walk with me, which usually means he winds himself tightly between my feet. As I was on a sloping pond bank at the time, it is possible he was attempting to drown me. One can never say for sure with cats. After about fifteen minutes of frantic affection, he decided to follow at a more leisurely distance.

Venturing into a part of the woods I had previously left largely unexplored, I ducked under low branches and wove around fallen tree limbs.

Eventually, I came across a tree with a little well in its base where rain water and melted snow had gathered. It was the perfect size for a cat to drink from, which both Lizzy and Shadow preceded to do.

Finally, I decided to go home. Along my winding path back, Shadow found a stump on which to pose. Cats are fully aware of how beautiful they are and what colors bring that out; Shadow is no exception.

The last day or so, the sky has lazily drizzled rain from above, and the little peeper frogs have been singing contentedly. With God's blessing, this may be the beginning of spring, rather than a small moment of warmth in late winter. I'd like to be able to take more rambling walks with my camera and feline escorts for company in the near future.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Reading Again

I was raised in a forest. Books could be found in almost every room of our little house.

Until I was twelve, our home was a white two story house surrounded by fields. The closest town, where my sister and I went to school, was nearly half an hour away. We grew up isolated, in a way, in our own special kingdom teeming with magic and wonder, two princesses of light, and our parents the gentle English major rulers.

The center piece of our house, as far as I was concerned, was a simple bookshelf. There was a row of books behind the ones that showed and books lying on top of those. I felt I would spend my life reading them all. Every night, my father would read to us before bed: a chapter from the Bible and a chapter from a fiction book. My sister and I would curl up against our mother and listen to tales of Fuzzies, Martian invasions, and water turned to wine. Many nights we begged for just one more chapter, and I remember Dad flipping pages to see how long it would be, if he could manage to read that much more. When he spoke, saying "I think we could," it was a victory, and we would snuggle closer.

When I was a little older, I would select books from the short shelves in my father's study, shelves assembled from bricks and planks of wood. I couldn't wait until I was older, when I wouldn't have to do homework or sit in school instead of reading. Now, I miss those days. Reading what I choose to read is a rarer commodity, precious. This last week, I was finally able to read two books from my own list. It's like stepping back into that house, light streaming through the windows on a summer day. I feel closer to being whole than I have in months.

There is a fulfillment in lifting another beings' thoughts and dreams from paper and ink and making it a part of yourself.