It’s hard to believe this will be my fourth March of journaling! I started my first journal to have a place to spout off randomness, but, well, let’s just say it’s been quite a trip.
I’ll be heading out to California on the 22nd, to visit family and attend a concert of my dad’s music. He put together the Albany Adult Orchestra many years ago. He kept conducting after he retired as a high school music teacher, and only recently trained a younger conductor to take his place. But even after he became too old to stand up there waving a stick for hours (let alone deal with all the organizational hassles) he’s continued to write new music for the orchestra and some chamber groups that are connected with it. http://www.sfcv.org/event/albany-chamber-strings-orchestra/winter-concert-music-of-ernest-douglas
They couldn’t have scheduled this better for me. By late March, winter is getting kind of old.
A lot of my fellow Madisonians have had enough of winter by the day after Christmas, but I truly enjoy January and February. Everything transforms: anything that stands still long enough becomes a mound of snow, water becomes sheets of ice, air drops everything but its basic molecules and becomes pure. The second I walk out the back door with my covered compost bin, I can smell it, though I couldn’t inside the house; the cold air is so clean, any whiff stands out.
On a clear day, you can walk for miles in three colors–blue sky, black branches, white snow. Basic, serious colors. While winter lasts, my mind doesn’t know what to do with the luxury colors that will follow during rest of the year. Whimsical spring flowers, summer blue jays, decadent autumn leaves–they all seem like more like fantasy than memory.
By late March, though, we’re down to mud. You don’t crunch-crunch-crunch when you walk, you squitch-squitch-squitch. You don’t dare go out on the lake any more, with its blocks of groaning ice. You think maybe that newly formed sheet covering melt water will hold a person up, but when you poke it with your foot, it buckles. So you’re stuck on dry land, looking at mud.
At this time of year, I always wonder what I’m doing living in the ugliest place in the world. At least, until that first crocus comes. After the emptiness of winter and the drabness of March, that little snippet of purple and green coming through the muck looks pretty damn exciting.
I hope I don’t miss it, but even if I don’t it won’t look the same after California. After a week of blooming rhododendrons, fresh cocoa mulch, bushes full of cheepy birds getting loopy on berries, and air that holds actual moisture, one little crocus won’t seem like such a victory.