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High February

"August will eventually arrive and offer no February,
high or low,
and little respite on the other side."

I imagine this season to constitute a steady progression toward summertime, but it takes wild divergences along the way. I might wake up one morning to find May outside, and another, walk smack into High February. The last few days have felt more like February than April, cold rain slipping out of low scudding cloud. The rain seems to amount to almost nothing, but accumulates in every hollow depression. The damp pervades, penetrating even my waterproof jacket and quickly seeps into my shoes. I squish around in damp socks, trying to maintain some semblance of a cheerful, seasonal Springtime attitude, but the effort exhausts me. The weather report predicts more "light rain," but it seems more like dark matter than uplifting light.

The roses and flowering crabapple were fooled, too, for they came dressed up to receive swarms of nectar-seeking bees rather than chilling rain.
The lawn loves this stuff, outgrowing its last haircut before drying out enough to mow. Weeds slip roots and all up and out of the saturated soil with the merest tug on their shoulders. The house becomes a refuge, outside chores easily discounted into excuses for further procrastinating. I buck up and head outside anyway, shivering in the once sweet breeze turned cold and vengeful. That winter won't leave without another skirmish, though its campaign to conquer this world failed months ago. It can't seem to let go this year.

The future remains queued up for her past due appearance. Each evening, I imagine tomorrow finally warming to the presence of an appreciative audience to graciously take center stage. So far, she's been hovering in the wings mouthing her lines in anxious anticipation of her entrance. Fellow actors frantically stage whisper encouragement, but another front slinks in from the West, bringing another bit of Alaska down onto the proceedings. Spring, I understand, moves North at eighteen miles per day, a hundred twenty six miles per week, but it seems to take a few days off along the way, leaving my anticipation frustrated and freezing in damp boots again.

The broad crescent of mountains backstopping this valley still carry a seeming full complement of snow. The contrasting white glints in the hour between first light and the moment the sun slips behind the hovering clouds. Likewise, the scant hour before sunset, light peeks beneath the grey to once again promise more than it's delivered. Maybe tomorrow, I sigh, though the weather report promises more High February then and even more the day after. In this semi-arid valley, we learn to never complain about moisture, in whatever form it might arrive, downpour or creeping fog. We understand that August will eventually arrive and offer no February, high or low, and little respite on the other side.

©2018 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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