Today, at last, the world was beautiful once more. The sky was blue. The sun shone rich and thick and warm. The trees and grass strained and stretched for growth. The tulips and camellias smiled brightly. In the late afternoon, the air was still and perfect: room temperature outdoors for the first time since last October. T-shirt weather.
The morning was cool and white. A thin mist hung over the newly-plowed country fields. Turning from Gribble to Oglesby, I slowed when I saw the bowed outstretched wings of an enormous bird: it swept over the pond, dipped, rose, and then landed on the muddy bank. The bird cocked its head and, for only a second, seemed to be looking directly at me. A tall and willowy blue heron, perched on reed-thin legs.
McLoughlin Boulevard skirts lower Oregon City, hugging the edge of the bluff which overlooks the river. In the morning, people gather at the side of the road to fish. They cast their lines from the short stone wall to the Willamette River below. They’ve been doing this for decades. (One of my earliest memories is stopping here with my grandfather to watch people fish.)
Today as I drove through Oregon City on my way to work, I smiled to see a burly white Alakaskan Husky sitting near his master, lounging at the side of the street, in the parking area, scrutinizing each passing car. It owned the place. It seemed perfectly content.
Arriving home last night at ten, I stopped to rub my hand over the bark of the dying clarendendron. The tree is a shell. Half of it has split and fallen away; the other half is hollow, clinging to what remains of its root system. I closed my eyes and took pleasure in the warm night air. I inhaled the sweet scent of freshly cut grass. (When I had left for the writers group meeting, there were at least five lawnmowers humming in chorus throughout the neighborhood.)
Something moved in the rose garden. “Hi, Simon,” I said, but he didn’t respond. He slinked away. His collar didn’t jingle. “Simon? Flash?” I walked over to see which cat was there, and the garden erupted in motion: dark striped figures slid into the boxwood hedge. One made its way to the sidewalk, where it stopped in the open. A raccoon! Several, from the sounds of it.
I backed away. I let them be. I strolled through the darkened yard, examining strawberry blossoms and budding pears. The raspberries are a riot of new growth. I stopped to piss under the locust, which is just beginning to leaf. Rounding the corner of the house, Simon bounded from the ferns. He trotted beside me as I finished my inspection of the yard. On the sidewalk near the fron steps, he rolled and flopped, begging me to pet his belly.
Spring is here.