I got a kind email from a reader of my column who urged me to pick up this blog again.
So here I am. It’s about time.
You see, the sun is shining and it’s 46 degrees outside, meaning we are without coats and a friend showed up at my house in flip flops. Almost all the snow is gone from the front yard and it’s shrinking in the back, and all that’s left on the roads are those great dirty lumps in the middle of the cul-de-sac. I almost wrote a post about the beauty of puddles.
It’s come to this.
I’ve been in the north through three winters now, and I will say this: a Minnesota winter is not to be trifled with. It is one-hundred-and-twenty-days-below-50-degrees long. There is no getting around it. Seth and I talk often about the two planets we live on. Summer is glistening lakes, birds everywhere, a landscape green as Oz, golden cornfields, gardens, lilacs, tulips, daisies.
Winter is a sheet of ice and snow. You can’t tell lake from land. Unless you’re wearing blades or seven layers of clothing, it is simply too cold to be outside for more than an hour. The air stings and we crowd inside, bumping into one another and learning the art of patience.
But spring is here. On Wednesday I stepped into my backyard for the first time in four months. Yesterday I was hustling everyone out the door because it was Science Fair Day and we had three massive posters plus visual aids like dish soap and cloth and we had to stop at Staples for colored graphs and the kids were supposed to be cleaning out the trunk to fit all the posters and visuals and I found them…standing on the driveway, all four of them in their winter jackets and backpacks, sniffing the air.
“Get in the car,” I said, just a teensy bit snippy.
“But Mom,” they said. “Look. Listen. Can you feel it? This is spring.”
I had one of those moments of clarity the other night, right at that bluing time of dusk when store fronts flicker and the world quiets as day turns to night. I was in the car alone, paused at a stoplight, and there it was. I just felt it. Peace and vision, the kind that makes me want to throw my arms wide and I say, “I get it. This whole tragic, messy, beautiful thing of life makes sense.” Just a glimmer and it was gone. But I’ll never forget it.
We have been many places since I last wrote a true post. I will write about that soon. Promise.
It’s good to be back.
Yesterday I made bipartisan pancakes, red and blue, for breakfast. It reflected my own ballot choices, my extended family’s leanings, and the way I hope my kids enter every political race.
We went as an entire family to the polls. The kids were so excited. They hovered over every bubble I filled out. As I watched people stream in and out of the polling place (which is also my kids’ little school) I cried like I do every time I vote. Because, I get to vote! We all get to vote. And whether the pancakes on our plate stack red or blue or some shade in between, I am grateful for that freedom. I live ever hopeful that the country will move forward in a gentler, more discourse-friendly manner. That’s one thing I’m always willing to vote for.
Well, that was quite the blogging hiatus. I always have high hopes of keeping this blog alive and kicking during the summer months–after all, that’s the time worth recording. Sun! Warmth! Lakes! Gardens! Trips to national parks and foreign shores! But alas, for three years now I have been unable to keep it up. I’m too busy getting out in it to sit down and keep this record.
But I’m back. The first fat flakes of winter are falling on wet ground outside. The house, with three kids in school and one napping, is quiet. Blissful writing time. Lots to recap, lots to share. Stay tuned!
I haven’t been to Chicago since junior high. (We lived in Missouri at the time and traveled to Chicago often.) Gathering there this past weekend, in a city with so many adolescent memories, with my entire family, was such a treat.
The city has changed in the past decade and a half. Millenium Park: loved it! What a beautiful addition to the downtown. (Even if they did almost tow our car.)
The best part was being with all my siblings. It’s so fun to gather as full-fledged adults. We are, all of us, loud, talkative, and prone to burst into spontaneous song. When we are together, it’s like living on the set of “Singing in the Rain.”
Here are my awesome parents who made all of it, all of us, possible. I don’t know two more remarkable people.
Oh, and these two made the gathering possible as well, by graduating with degrees in law and public policy from the University of Chicago. Movers and shakers, these two fine folks.
The great thing is that they’re both going back for more school, so we can repeat this fabulous weekend again in a couple of years.
My sisters and I had way too much fun. (Here we are at a bus stop trying to mimic those over-the-top gum commercials.) Love my family. Love this city. (With a big thanks to Seth, who manned the boy fort with grace and aplomb while I was gone.)
Anyone see Venus cross the sun yesterday? This method didn’t work so well. Luckily we had friends with gear that was a little more high tec.
And thank goodness. Jackson was in a panic to see this once-in-a-lifetime occurrence. “Mom, I may be alive in 105 years, but you definitely won’t.”
Hm, sounds like a challenge. Time to find life’s elixir, don’t you think?