Rendered Fat Content


Winter hasn’t quite let go yet. Last year, it never really came. This year, it’s the house guest that can’t take a hint. A week ago, the back door was blocked by ice and snow. Today, the yard’s covered in crocus. Monday will be yet another snow day here.

I was worried that the capricious weather might freeze out the earliest flowers, but they seemed to have thermostats telling them to close up tight, and I can see no damage as they open up wide again. They were extra eager to bloom this March. The moment that last deep snowfall melted off, up they came and more than welcome they were, too.

I imagine those bulbs shivering just beneath the surface, waiting for their cue from a confused stage manager. The memories of countless prior performances quivering beneath their paper capes. Holding position within that soggy clay soil that holds captive everything they’ve ever possessed until this one, brief show shoves their heads and shoulders up into the light.

The light’s changed, producing an unconvincing extension of the waning season. The single digit wind chill lacks mid-winter’s conviction, and I fail to suspend my disbelief. The birds have returned, scratching out new bivouacs beneath the same old eaves, indifferent to the hardware cloth I foolishly thought would dissuade their instincts. The new season insists while the old one resists.

I suppose this show mirrors whatever’s unfolding within me. I resist my own renewal, holding onto my own sorry snowfall in a daily-strengthening sun. I have leaves, purposefully left over on the planting beds to entertain the worms and protect delicate rhizomes, that need cleaning up; a short day’s work I’ve been delaying much as winter’s been stalling his departure. Soon, though, that useful fiction will fail to support even the meager weight of this deflection, and I’ll strap on the boots and become a gardener again.

I remain uncertain just where the long winter nights have gone. I might have been hibernating through them, and most of the days, too. The awakening unsettles me, as I suppose it should. Soon, the lawns, or what’s left of them, will advertise my sloth should I not find my boots and gloves at least weekly. The crocuses might last a fortnight before the tulips and jonquils take over, and the increasingly familiar play will resume. I swear that I’ll stay a bit further ahead of the weeding this time, and prune just a bit more wisely. I won’t even pretend to protect the strawberries from the birds, and my rhubarb should be satisfied after her long, cold nap.

©2014 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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