over and out

by bam

if, in my leafy little town, they give a prize for last one out to the garbage bins, i think i might be a winner. although some around here might call me a loser. a big fat christmas tree loser.

there was a wind change over the weekend. light changed too. suddenly the december in my backyard looked a little dated. it was like i got the itch.

after weeks of not noticing the spruce faded to not-so-spruce faded to brown, suddenly everywhere i looked it was blkkhh, that color that knows no redemption.

there seem to be two overarching developments out my door (notice we now move beyond the passive looking through window of winter, we advance to actual tiptoeing through door into, voila, out-doors, an early exercise of spring): we’ve got squish, and we’ve got browning.

everywhere you walk, a little water wobbles up from underneath the earth. the final days of winter sticking out their tongues. and then there’s the brown. olive brown, the color of the lawn (or what’s left of it). brown brown, the color of the christmas greens long past their expiration date.

okay, so i surrendered. at last i got the message. hey, lady, your christmas trees are overdue. we’ll see if the garbage man lays on a fine.

i find, as i haul my beloved trees, the ones whose branches harbored so many english sparrows through the most blizzardy of days, the ones in which the juncoes played a sprightly peek-a-boo, that i am pure, plain, sad.

i am decidedly not so good at change. not change of any sort. i–once a catholic school girl confined to the same plaid skirt and navy sweater for eight long years–still look down and find myself wearing a variation on a theme day after blessed day. i am a girl not good at shifting gears.

not even when the gear is shifting from one season to the next. or maybe it’s just leaving winter that makes me pine.
i know there will come a day, come a day quite soon perhaps, when the earth is bursting. when every morning i will be drawn from my bed before dawn to go check the progress in the beds. to see if the delphinium has bloomed, to check the hyacinth unfurling. to keep a mama’s eye–if i’m really blessed–on some mama bird and her baby brood, nesting on a low branch, where i can monitor the long, dramatic road from egg to flight.

but that is not now. right now i am grinding gears. finding the loss of winter just a tad bit sad.

it was not for lack of wishing, wishing for one more morning’s waking up to white, to white that shooshes and silences the sound of a world that sometimes needs a blizzard to slow down, that i finally succumbed and swallowed hard as i unscrewed the screws of the ol’ christmas tree stands and slung the sorry branches over my shoulder, down the path, to back where the garbage trucks do their rumble.

i think of all the things i’ll miss about winter: the sweaters pulled tight, and wrapped around; the frost that swoops and swirls on windowpanes; the crackle of the logs, burning, tumbling from the grate, collapsing in a red inferno of wintry glow. the shock of papa cardinal’s scarlet coat against the all-white tableau of snow, snow and more snow.

the sanctuary of being tucked in a cozy farmhouse kitchen looking out at a winter world of which i am in awe. the contemplative nature of the season that draws us all deep into the back of our cave, where i, curled up under a blanket, with a book, with my thoughts, find deep fuel for the year ahead.

i will await the tender shoots pushing through the earth. the first signs of color amid the brown and ooze. i will, i know, be swept up into spring. but right now, i am feeling empty for the branches no longer there to hold my sparrows.

is there, anywhere in the whole wide world, a single other soul who sadly waves goodbye to winter? or at least to the poetry of winter? certainly not to buckling little boots and stuffing little arms into puffy sleeves, certainly not to cars fishtailing down the lane, but to the beauty of the season that demands retreat to the inner recesses of our shivering soul?

if you missed the first go-around about making bird sanctuaries of christmas trees, take a peek back in the archives to christmas tree leftovers….