Tuesday, March 14, 2006


A flock of tiny brown birds has taken up residence on the slope above the plant, consuming the seeds from the dry grasses the wind sweeps bare of snow. Every time a vehicle enters the gates and tops the knob, they flutter up in the hundreds and sweep across the road and down over the parking lot in a dramatic quivering cloud, desperately battling the constant wind.

I would never claim to be fragile, but the residues of winter sometimes make me feel I could shatter if buffeted by anything more substantial than the everlasting wind. I remember this season in Kemmerer, iron-flavored gusts over the starched brown grass of the sloped park I spent every spare moment exploring. Leaf buds on cottonwoods emerged from sharp husks that grazed my
flushed and brittle cheeks as I dodged between them, climbed among their bare limbs, scored them in return with a rusty pocketknife to make sure there was green beneath the dead gray.

In this climate, spring seems more cruel than winter, as it punishes
with freezing rain and dry dawn frost the feeble green things fighting to emerge. In my own way, I am fighting to emerge, with as much determination at least as early sprouts cowering against the earth. No matter how fierce spring is, no matter how gray the sky or bitter the nights, spring still means renewal, resilience, commencement. And even during the blustery throes of March I sense that winter is yielding to this effervescent season, the earth becoming pliable, rivers breaking loose, the irrepressible cycle of seed and stalk eager on the brink.

This spring my life is waiting in the wings, an instinctive rehearsal fueled by conviction and joy. I live for spare moments. It never before occurred to me to take them.


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