Spring Is Finally, Almost, Kinda Sorta Here!

bunnies
bunnies

These are the bunnies the Easter Bunny will bring our two. I guess whether they behave themselves or not. During December, you can always use "Santa's watching" for good behavior. And it works so well, it made me wish I could have a mystical gift-granting character for the end of every month (or maybe I would invent them! Arbor Day Fairies, anyone?).

But it just seems wrong to be like, the Easter Bunny is watching! Because isn't the whole point of Easter that Christ died and rose again to save us from our sins despite us not deserving it? It just seems wrong to hold our kids to that standard all the time. Life truly is that good; sometimes you just receive out of love, period. And though it takes time and humility, you can accept it and understand it, though it takes my breath away every time.

One last woodstove fire tonight. 35 out. I love this time of the year - not winter, but spring hasn't bloomed. Mud season. Sugarin' time. Morning sun gleams through green plastic buckets hanging on maples around town, half full of watery sap - a late and short run.

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still occasionally post-holing
still occasionally post-holing
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So I took the kids outside for outdoor play without coats. And a barefoot picnic on ankle-deep snow to eat sugar-on-snow. This is taffy made by boiling maple syrup and pouring it over snow and letting it harden. (However, if you don't heat it enough and get overzealous pouring it on, it basically makes a big maple slushie, but it's good anyway.)

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Just a hint of salt and dirt in the air. The sound of chickens and dogs again, the ha-ha of the seagulls. The increasing twitter of robins. And the skitter of aged leaves, resurrected from memory.

While driving, I saw, for the first time since I was a child, children playing outside unsupervised.

And this week, the first wind of spring blew in. A memorable whoosh so loud it began in the forest to the north, rattling off tremendous worry from stiff limbs, shaking the neighborhood from its tension, its bracing for snow. Let go! the wind said, LET GOOOO! You could have taken 4 or 5 deep breaths before this wind reached you, and single hairs would rise from your head and dance with anticipation before the big blow. The children were asleep. I stepped outside and breathed deep through my nose. Something was happening. Wind chimes sounded. Fssssssssshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh - a sound I hadn't heard since November. What was it? I could scarcely remember. Leaves. From where snow has melted, leaves lifted up and danced down the street in spontaneous ferris wheels and whirling dervishes, parading in spring. Follow me! We're free! We're free! Tra la la! He hee! Impossible not to smile. The wind was strong; I had to close my eyes and bite my lower lip.

Spring. HA HA! SPRING!

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When snow melts, it's as if the white sheet has been removed from dying Earth, and the planet breathes again. Miraculously. It will. Grass will rise up and bend and blow back and forth, shaking off its coat. But for now, it's still wet and still asleep. The heather grass is matted down and broken. Meadows are slick and grey and muddy in the sun, beams still shine through to the forest floor. It's the season to collect kindling. My children love this. We pile them in the back, on what is either a foxhole or an underground squirrel home; I'm unsure.

The ground sounds like smuush and slush and snap crack under the mud.

Gone are the internal ice sheets groaning and cracking underfoot, below a foot of snow.

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Two night ago, we spied a fox in the yard. And this afternoon, the first robin walked across our yard.

We're not totally out of the woods yet; it hailed and was 37 today. And we could still have another snowstorm or jack frost on the windshields. Rumor is we'll have freezing again next weekend, so we're all waiting to plant up here. But we do have our first buds!

And at this point, I'm going to stop myself and be like, OK, you're being that obnoxious blogger mom who does things like garden with toddlers. And now I'm going to be honest. Yes, we do have indoor plants sprouting.

But I have NO IDEA what the sprouts are. Because when you're planting with toddlers, this is how it *really* goes.

I had a friend over with her 3-year-old boy and precious newborn baby girl, and she's trying to nurse. Our toddlers, especially G, will NOT leave her alone. I tandem nursed for a year and a half, so G thinks she's always entitled to share the other side. She thinks moms are like speakeasies where babies just hang out and have drinks and coo and hold hands. Which is kinda true. Anyway, she's being super-annoying, so I'm like:

WHO WANTS TO PLANT SEEDS WITH ME?!

ME ME meEE me ME! me mE ME MEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! Say the toddlers.

But before I can make my way to the supplies to explain and dole out materials and give a lesson, C has already pulled out the large covered tray of dirt in tiny wet peat pots. Which is *of course* irresistible to tiny hands. And no sooner did I get that situation under control when Geoff calls.

1-800 number, blah blah important, blah blah need tax form, blah blah write this down, Form # ...blah blah

OH. My gosh. Maybe 80 seconds.

Now you know I'm not opposed to big messes in my house. But I have two things that get me, and one is kids running around with food (I cannot handle greasy string cheese stain on the sofa, I just can't - it does not contribute to anyone's fun or happiness), and the other is digging into a new activity before I can give a *very short* lesson on it.

Seeds. Everywhere. Not our guest - my kids! (Of course!) And not just any seed. Mesclun seeds, which are tiny, dark, and impossible to pick up without a wet paper towel and a lot of patience. C flung mesclun seeds like wedding rice. G opened tomato seeds and started eating them. Our guest managed (I think) to open the packet of pepper seeds, but the thing is, no one could find where they went, and they weren't in the packet, either. (Did he eat them? Are they in his pocket? Did he pour them in the radiator? The world may never know.) He said he put them in the dirt, but I didn't see any, and I don't think he could have buried an entire packet in 25 seconds, right? I just know that his I-Don't-Know face was adorable.

So maybe we'll get peppers, maybe we won't. Who knows.

I have this vision that we'll be like the family in Pat the Bunny May I Help You, where they run through the hose and gather tomatoes, lettuce, and peas together as a family. But this is how I think it's *really* going to go:

There might be 3-4 tomatoes the whole summer, which will be green for a long time, and we'll get really excited, and a day or two before we're ready to pick them, a raccoon or a fox will steal them.

Or I'll get the kids all excited to harvest, and we'll go outside, and no one will be interested anymore, and I'll end up doing it all. And pulling up weeds while they run toward the road or ride the tricycle somewhere where they'll get stuck and cry for me to come get them unstuck.

Or a bunny will eat all my mesclun.

Either way, the bunnies indoors will behave themselves.