If you google “spring is sprung,” you’ll find some version of the following little ditty by the prolific author Anon. I was moved to look it up last April by the painful disparity between the calendar and the weather:
Spring is sprung, the grass is ris.
I wonders where the birdies is.
They say the birds is on the wing.
Ain’t that absurd?
I always thought the wings was on the bird.
You can’t tell from the weather: a windstorm two weeks ago, a snow storm last week. Freezing temps that turn my fingers bloodless and numb every morning and evening. It’s light later in the day, but that’s more a trick of the clock than return of the sun. Although I’m thankful for brighter evenings. Laps around the Cobbs Hill reservoir are easier when they don’t usher in the dark. To watch the sunset while tailgating feels like the beginning of something good.
You can’t tell from the unchanging contents of my house or the clothes in my closets, the boxes of forgotten tools in my garage, the sorry state of my kitchen appliances or the piles of paper on my desk. Or the pale countenance in the bathroom mirror. It feels like I exist in a microcosm of Lake Wobegone, “the town that time forgot and that the decades cannot improve.”
Certainly the raw floorboards in the alcove at the base of the stairs, blackened with age and the stain of tar paper, don’t signal a change of season. I’d wanted to have it tiled by now, but the floor moves too much, even with backerboard, so I unscrewed 200 screws and pulled it up. Next time it goes down for good over a layer of Liquid Nails. But meanwhile, as progress is measured, time has stopped.
Is it me? Or is it what winter does to us? Even Attie, my unperturbable cat, seems to be affected, moping around, meowing disconsolately, listlessly draping herself over the furniture. Is it like this every year? Is forgetfulness the major symptom here?
You can’t trust robins and tree buds and croci. This morning I saw the first sure sign of spring – a stink bug crawling across the bathroom floor. Soon their primordial carapaces will be everywhere – lurking on walls and ceilings and windowsills, dotting the shower curtain, crunching underfoot.
I plucked that first harbinger of change from the floor and flushed it down the toilet.
Things are looking up.