Friday, March 12, 2010

Keeping up appearances

The spring equinox is less than two weeks away. In my mind, bright green shoots and pale purple crocus blossoms re just around the corner (waiting under the snow).

But the reality of the end of winter is much different. Carly, our dog, is old and can’t walk as well as she once did. The melting snow has revealed dog feces everywhere. It’s been an icy winter, and Dave has spread ash from the wood stove down our front steps, along the walk, and over slippery spots on the driveway. The melting snow and ice exposes strata of gray ash flung like sea drift along the shore of our snow banks. Rags of tattered, un-recyclable plastic flutter around the garbage cans.

The barnyard is melting. Between shrinking snow banks, the well trod path to the barn is a morass of mud and manure. Our boots make an inevitable sucking sound when we walk the path. Dave and I try to avoid the deep spots, where we know the muck will rise over the rubber parts of our boots and inundate our socks. Even the sheep don’t like walking in the muck. We all try to stay on the ice shelf that edges the path to keep dry, but like the glaciers in Antarctica, our ice shelf is melting.

There is no relief from the ugliness of winter’s end inside the house either. Both Dave and I work under the hopeful belief that if we walk lightly in our barn boots from the front door to the kitchen sink, we won’t leave any mucky boot prints. Between multiple trips to the barn each day, the inertia that comes with interrupted sleep, and the projects we are trying to do in spite of lambing (Dave making a wooden stool, me writing), we somehow don’t find the energy? enthusiasm, time? to mop the floor as often as we should.

But we have six amaryllis blooms on the plant on the big blue pot on the kitchen counter, and friends are visiting tomorrow. We will mop the floor before they arrive and it will stay clean for an hour or two. But regardless of how long the floor is clean or how clean the floor is, our friends will share with us the infectious wonder of lambing and the absolute joy in being out doors as the weather warms and the snow recedes. Who cares about keeping up appearances!

1 comment:

  1. I'm pretty sure that part of the appearance of lambing is manure on the floor. 100% of the lambing facilities I have visited included muddy boots.