Tuesday afternoon I managed to sneak away for a short run. The weather was chill. The sky a bit dull. Still, it was pleasant enough. As I approached the water-barrel fountain where I always pause, I noticed a small yellow-bellied bird perched and drinking. He was such a bright little sight amidst all the now bare trees and gray air that I wanted him to stay – stay and share the fountain with me; but, by instinct, the moment he saw me, he flitted off to a nearby tree branch. Once there, however, he paused – watching and hesitant – as if he too was curious about me (despite the warnings his mother must surely have given him concerning my kind). He studied me a minute longer, but seemed to be fighting against a strong pull calling him elsewhere. Eventually the call became greater than his curiosity and off he went.
A mile further down the road I came across an entire field full of crows. (How did I not just take the opportunity to use “murder of crows” there? What an opportunity lost!) They were bustling and busy. Planning and serious. Unlike my little yellow-bellied friend, they had neither the time nor the interest to notice me.
What all of this “call to be elsewhere” and “serious planning” was about became evident by the next morning when freezing temperatures and blustery winds sailed in – followed only a day later by the season’s first snowfall.
(Although, I suppose, the weekly news forecast might have played it’s part in giving me that “change is in the air” feeling. . . .)
It was mostly magic – as first snowfalls always must be. And, for most of the day, I did quite well with constant demands to open doors and let kids out, and open doors and let kids right back in, and take off boots and mop up the floor, and put boots back on, and finagle fingers into each slot in their gloves and mittens – over and over. But, in the end, Anders was pretty much heading out pantless – with rainboots, a t-shirt, and mittens; and then crying . . . when I eventually put a stop to it all.
Last night Summer had another horrible night’s sleep – and I had another horrible night’s sleep; and, in the sleep-deprived chaos of getting baby happy and everyone off to school, I somehow failed to notice Jesse was wearing no shoes (though heaven knows how he failed to notice as he plodded down our snow-covered front lawn to our neighbor’s waiting car in only socks).
Now, however, Summer is napping and Anders has yet to awaken and I have turned on Peter Breinholt’s version of Gartan Mother’s Lullaby (which is so tied up with Christmas and nights of rocking my newborns that it makes me nearly weep for the goodness of life); and I am reminded that this is life: trouble and joy all side-by-side and often holding hands – first snow magic, sleep deprivation, kids forgetting shoes and crying in embarrassment that can’t properly be consoled because school bells will be ringing, beautiful music; but, at least right now -- while babies are sleeping and this song is playing -- that seems all right.