Dreams of of flowers

13 02 2014

On Facebook yesterday, EVERYONE was talking about snow.  Folks in the way south were talking about it because they’d had a little and they were all afraid of losing power (or had lost power and were using what was left of their phone batteries to post about it anyway).  Folks in the mid-east were getting hammered, and couldn’t stop posting pictures of the fluffy pillows their backyard barbeques, picnic tables, and deck-railings had become.  Oh, and buried cars.  The internet was awash in buried cars.  Folks up here in the north were/are still talking about it because the monotony was/is killing us, or because it’s fun to mock the south, or because we have passed the point of being able to think past the raining blur of ice outside because DEAR LORD IT’S BEEN LIKE ZERO FREAKING DEGREES ALL WINTER AND IT’S STILL SNOWING.  I complain about this constantly: I’m tired of being cold, the heating bills are absurd, I hate having to cage my daughter in her crib to go shovel off the car so I can get to a doctor’s appointment, I hate being afraid I’m going to slip on our zillions of icy stairs and drop her or break me, I hate even thinking about driving in it, I hate dry indoor air and recycled dust and stale winter dog breath and trapped life-stink… go ahead and plug your ears for as long as you like; you won’t miss anything, because the tune doesn’t change.

Matt took this picture looking down our street this morning.  Just another day in the %*@# tundra.

Matt took this picture looking down our street this morning. Just another day in the %*@# tundra.

But there are two things about THIS winter in particular that are killing me.  The first is that the temperature has ruined all of my efforts to try to be like the good people of the north who don’t hate it.  We have snow-pants for the baby, boots and coats for everyone, a sled, millions of gloves and hats and mittens — AND we have cameras with snow settings, just waiting for us to get out there and capture winter.  And it’s been so ridiculously cold out that the children have been out playing in the snow exactly ZERO times so far.  That’s right.  None.  The weather has peaked into mildness a few times, melting things, making goo, and quickly freezing up again.  Sometimes the temperature is almost middle-of-the-winter-road, and those are always the times the wind is blowing the falling snow straight sideways and the windchill is still ridiculous.  Or, for extra fun, sometimes it’s already ridiculously cold and THEN we get to add windchill.  This year, I’ve learned that they automatically cancel school if the windchill gets to -25.  So there has been a snow day or two, but definitely not the going-out-to-play kind.  (Other, hardier children have done it anyway, for brief spans.  I’ve seen pictures.  Those children also live right across the street from the park, they don’t have to walk uphill through the snow for 15 minutes to get there, and their dad is a crazy former luge-athlete and ice-climber, so I don’t consider them a reasonable set of Joneses to keep up with.)  The second thing that makes me sad every time Evanny reminds me of it is flowers:

Evanny doesn’t remember flowers.  It’s been winter for as long as she can remember ANYTHING.  (We do, actually, currently have a few blooming things in the house, but they’re weirdly shaped, so the association isn’t sticking.)  I know this because she has this adorable “auk auk” noise she makes every time she sees a picture of a bird in a book (or a real bird, which almost never happens unless it’s a crow, hence the particularity of her bird-noise), and every time she sees a picture of a FLOWER in a book, she makes that noise.  She thinks they’re birds.  They must be, after all: they’re bright and colorful and look nothing like anything that happens in the outdoors where she lives.  The other day, she came with me to a doctor’s appointment, and the exam rooms at our office have a colored panel over the florescent lights with pictures of flowering tree branches and blue sky, presumedly to help promote relaxation while one is being poked and prodded.  “Look at the pretty flowers,” I said to Ev, to try to distract her from fussing because she was sure the goo on the external doppler wand was going to hurt me, and she obediently looked up at the branch outlined with thick clusters of pink blossoms.  “Auk, auk,” she said.

This is a random picture of flowers taken off the Internet, because what's outside our house is only an infinite wash of white.

This is a random picture of flowers taken off the Internet, because see above.

Also on Facebook yesterday, one of my oldest friends started a thread about something totally silly, and I spent a good chunk of the day (while playing with the baby, grading response journals, folding laundry, etc.–you know, all that super-fun mummy-multitasking) watching silly conversations with warming, sweetly adolescent banter thread along for hours, and chatting over text messages with another of my oldest friends to share the smart-alecky commentary and other tangential reflections that don’t really belong on display on someone else’s wall, and it was just lovely.  Sunny and brightly colored and ALIVE, in ways the icy hill of our street doesn’t look like it will ever be again.  I know some of the people in the threads, and some of the people my friend and I are talking about–those are the blossoms you recognize, the violets and the dandelions, when you go for a spring-meadow wander.  And some of them are strangers, and those are those little pink and white flowers in the grass nobody knows the names of, or the yellow ones that aren’t buttercups, but they’re all part of the pretty, and they make the re-emergence of the world seem momentarily, if not-exactly-likely, at least plausible.  It’s happened before, spring.  Life.  It could, maybe, possibly, someday, happen again.  So thanks, my flowers, for being sunny and irreverent and your wonderful fleeting-life, repeating-season selves, effortlessly combining the eternal and ephemeral.  But someday, preferably someday soon, will you stop by and teach my daughter that flowers don’t go “auk auk” or fly away into the sky?




2 responses

15 02 2014

Beautifully written Tyra. Spring is coming. And don’t let us be Jones you keep up with, and we won’t keep up with you. We can both just be. And that is wonderful.

19 02 2014

Heh. No worries about being the Joneses–I just feel guilty sometimes about letting the things I hate limit the kids at all. I think it’s awesome that you’re all winter-happy and crazy like that, though. It meant Caleb got to go sledding the other day without us having to go out in it–Evanny can’t wait for her turn too. And I’m more than happy to stay inside and engineer baked goods for everyone!

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