Fair Spring has arrived again in northern Kentucky. I’m maybe not enjoying it as much as I feel I should, walking past daffodils without stopping to sniff them, merely glancing at the paperwhites Ry and I planted in the Fall, saying yeah, whatever to the birds and little spring creatures and all that crap. Did I just say that? This attitude is disturbing to me, given that Spring is my favorite time of year: the smell of earth between my fingers as I plant a new garden, the lovely warmth on my face while rocking in the hammock, the excitement of the kids playing soccer in the back acre, watching early flowers bloom and smelling the first cut grass … that kind of crap. I said it again. What is wrong with me?
Ah, Spring. You are lovely, and you’re still my favorite season, and I’m glad you’re here, really. I guess I’m just tired. And grumpy, very grumpy. I have just finished three months of the hardest work I’ve done since college, I’m serious. Not counting childbirth. Two days of labor was harder than four years of college. I digress. I’m just tired.
The birds are going nuts, as they do this time of year. I have noticed you, birds, don’t worry. The robins start before dawn, and the cardinals chime in soon thereafter. My neighborhood is home to several pairs of hawks. The other day one landed on the ground near me, screaming. To me, it’s screaming. To other hawks, it’s probably a seductive whisper in the ear. So it landed, screaming seductively, and I stood there, tired, watching as it shook itself repeatedly – why? I don’t know. Fleas? In any case, it was a lovely, leggy little hawk, an accipiter, the kind that has short wings and a long tail for flying through trees. Woods hawk. That made me sorta happy. Then I heard a flicker, which is a big kind of woodpecker. I’ve never heard one in my neighborhood; in fact, I hadn’t heard one in a long time. That made me sorta happy. But it was a dull kind of happy. The kind of happy that comes after three months of the hardest work you’ve done since college or childbirth, a limp kind of happy that makes you smile a little with one corner of your mouth when someone tells you something cool, and really you are just waiting for the someone to go away so you can go to bed and sleep ten hours.
As it turns out, Spring is not used to me ignoring her.
So tonight I was walking the dogs. It was sunset, and Spring was really putting on a show. Check it out, she said. Just look at these colors. And indeed, they were vibrant. Best sunset in years. Yawn. Spring got pissed.
So she made a rainbow. A sunset rainbow. I stopped. I stared. It was something I’d never seen before – a rainbow, created by a sunset? I just stood there, looking up, while the dogs whined to keep walking because their favorite pee tree was ten feet ahead. The rainbow arced all the way across the sky, all the colors accounted for, glowing proudly against a charcoal-dark eastern horizon.
“Oh, shut UP,” I told the sky. In that generation-next, I-can’t-believe-you’re-doing-this tone of voice.
Then I smiled and shook my head, and let the dogs pee on the pee tree, and when I looked up the rainbow was gone. We walked west down the train tracks into the colors, and I watched and listened and smelled the smells, until the sunset faded, and then we went home. Good job, Spring. That was awesome.