Monday, February 22, 2016

small steps

If occasionally big events, fabulous visits, or grandiose plunges into real estate purchases pop into the Ocean story, I have to remind myself (and you) that these are rarities. A move forward most often happens through incremental steps we take every day. It's not unlike Snowdrop's walking (or, more often running these days): there was the big event of her first baby steps and then, through stumbles and slips and gradual balancing acts and mastering of slippery surfaces, she progressed to where she is today. We applaud that first set of steps, even as it's the daily grind of forwards and backs that gets her to a new level of independence.

So, too, with the weather. I'm thrilled with those brilliant days of sunshine and warm breezes, but here, the coming of spring is really an incremental thing, with several steps forward and the not uncommon stalled moments, with the inevitable drab gray skies, the brown earth, the bare branches.

But it's warm enough for me to begin the clearing of the land and so soon after breakfast...

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... I take a little time to start picking up the ghastly pods that litter the flower beds (is it a honey locust? I'm not sure...). And in bending down, I see, of course, that there is emergent green. Yes, even in February.

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I don't stay out for long. You don't want to clear the yard too much yet. There'll be the heaving -- warm followed by cold -- and, too, there will be better days for outdoor work. Still, it's a good start into the long process of getting the yard ready for spring. Baby steps.

And of course, speaking of baby steps, Snowdrop comes to the farmhouse today. She is in a more serious mood...

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... but I do coax her to go out with me. And again she is reluctant to romp in her boots, though she holds the bread for the cheepers and watches them with some curiosity as they rush toward us.

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It's only when the big guy comes down to give her a boost and a poke that her face relaxes...

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Does anyone ever have picnics at the picnic table?

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Inside again, she picks up speed...

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... though mostly she is in her asking mode: with an inquisitive eh? and a point of the finger, she goes from item to item (all this from my hip of course), asking in her own toddler way the what and the whys of life. Why is my jacket hanging there? What are these spices? Why does the light go on? Eh? Eh? Eh?

In the afternoon, during her lunch hour, Ed comes into the kitchen and offers her a pickle. Perhaps because he lets her do the unthinkable -- mess with his computer keyboard, never growing impatient, correcting her disasters after she moves on -- she believes him to be on her side.  And so she loves the pickle! (Or maybe it's in her genes?)

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And she loves "stealing" his tray after he's done with his lunch of reheated Thai.

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Later, as I drive her home, we pop into the local library -- I need to do some returns and to pick up a few videos (no, we do not subscribe to cable or Netflix; it's the library or rust). I want her to love the library and so I take great care to give her some freedom to explore.

She does just that.

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Small steps toward learning, small steps toward spring. And a big fat moon in the sky today -- the Snow Moon, though for us there is little snow left on the ground.