I heard a bird yesterday.
I realize this may not be alarming to many of you, but as I sat in an airport shuttle van with the sliding door open to the warm Dallas air, the chirp smacked me square in the forehead – as sounds do when you hear them for the first time in five months.
Five months. Five solid months of snowfall. Five months of lifeless outdoor landscapes. Five months of keeping two small, male children mostly indoors and going positively stir-crazy.
That’s not to say that beautiful, crisp winter mornings don’t have their place. They certainly do. On Christmas.
So birds. They have those here in Texas right now, apparently. Which shouldn’t have surprised me as much as it did considering that the first 18 years of my life I lived in a climate so moderate and constantly alive that moss growing on people’s roof shingles is a legitimate problem. There’s moss on everything in Oregon, as if the whole state were that part of the woods that’s far enough in so no one goes and disturbs it and moss and such feels safe enough to grow. At least that’s how I remember it.
In Minnesota, everything dies. I guess this comes in handy in the area of moss and bugs and other things it’s nice to kill out once a year, but it is positively devastating for the humans that live through it. It seems like every year I make it through January in Minnesota and think that I’ve made it. I’ve survived negative temperature highs; the dead of winter is behind me. But then I get to March and I’ll be darned if it’s not 38 times longer than January ever was. March holds the promise (and even the delivery) of spring for so much of the country. Birds chirp from California to DC. Moms instagram pictures of their kids in shorts, outside digging in the sandbox.
Meanwhile, I have 10 inches of snow in my yard. March makes me dig way, way down deep to this treasure trove of memories. I remember that last summer it was gorgeous and hot and sunny and my kids were the ones playing in the kiddie pool in the back yard. I think through the fog about the days out on a boat on the St. Croix river. I will myself to recall the afternoons we spent in the strawberry fields as a family.
And sometimes, I fly to Dallas and hear a bird chirp just to get me through.
I will make it. Spring will come. It will.