April Revisited, briefly
Flintstone brakes don’t work in life. You know, those times you dig your heels in, stiffen your legs and bear down, but life just doesn’t stop. Change is inevitable.
I remember when my wife woke me up in the middle of the night when our second child was more than a week overdue. For several weeks she had been voicing her growing desire to have this child, NOW! That night I rubbed her back and her shoulders, we patiently talked, watched television and talked some more until the contractions were coming at predictable and shortening intervals. Finally, they were at one contraction every five minutes and she calmly stated that we should head to the hospital.
Dawn was gathering in the east, but the sun wasn’t visible yet. Still, when I turned onto the frontage road where we could access the highway, we could easily see the largest flock of redwing blackbirds likely ever observed. Or, so it seemed. The frontline of the flock was already out of sight to our left and the birds from our right just kept coming in this huge, undulating mass of cackling and blurred wings. I actually slowed down, but the tail end of the flock still wasn’t in sight. Suddenly, Michelle let out a clenched-teeth yell and she squeezed my hand almost hard enough to break it. She had just experienced the first really hard contraction. When, she was finally able to catch her breath again she looked at me calmly and said, “Take me home; I’ve changed my mind about having the baby today!” “Sorry”, I said, “It just doesn’t work that way.”
Today, appears to be one of those kinds of days. The sun hadn’t climbed very high but it was already 66 degrees when I headed out the door for a morning walk. We’ve had four straight days of clouds and rain, but there was enough thin spots that some sunlight was breaking through. Still, the clouds seemed low enough to drag a bit on the ground, at least it looked that way across the horizon.
The rains had done a decent job of refilling the conservancy ponds with water and birds. With the warm, humid breeze and the busyness in the marsh, it seemed much more like April than late October. There were hundreds of geese settled on the water, with flocks of twenty or so seeming to take turns landing and taking off, so that there were as many geese scattered across the sky as there were on the ponds. But the birdsong that really caught my ear was the redwing blackbirds.
Our local birds had headed south weeks ago, leaving the daytime marsh hushed once the geese scattered to feed in the corn and grain fields. But this morning, the marsh was alive with singing redwings. And dozens and dozens of robins hopped across the black top ahead of me, making easy work of all of the worms that the rain had coaxed from the soil.
By the time I hit the three-mile mark on my walk, I paused to note the re-darkening western edge of the sky. Prudence suggested a turn for home.
Last night’s weather forecast had shown that the northern edge of the front that had been dripping on us all week and pulling up warm air from the south, was colliding with cold air up in Canada and making snow. I suspect that these birds in the marsh this morning, all trying to sing April back to life, were refugees from that weather in the north.
The weather this afternoon, as predicted, has turned. The sky appears to be once again one singular and solemn gray cloud. The warm morning breeze is now a building wind out of the north and the temperature at midday has already slipped to 57 degrees; it will tumble down all the way into the 30’s by nightfall. There could be some wet slushy snowflakes in the air by morning. Those bonus redwings and robins, if they are not already awing, will certainly fly out tonight for places south.
It is late October once again.
His Peace <><