It's spring, all right. And while this means that yes, it's rainy, and when it's not rainy, it's cold, and the mountains are so socked-in with clouds that Denver's true nature as a high plains city is starkly apparent, it also means that the birds are out. And the benefits of being in a newish building in a place that's still half wild and abandoned ranch are becoming apparent. I pass six or seven meadowlark territories on my fifteen-minute lunchtime walk, nesting kestrels, nesting killdeer, magpies and a prairie dog town. There's also a trio of Swainsons's hawks whose exact family relations I am trying to work out--I'm assuming two adults and a grown offspring, but really, who can tell? And you don't want to over assume these things. On Monday I went birding before work and while my basic take-home experience was it was so bleeping cold, it was still awesome. And I saw lark sparrows, a grasslands treat. As I drove from there to work I found myself flickering into an old seasonal excitement about the unfolding of a new place. And it seems like forever since I've felt that--or, well, since 2008, when we moved, and a new place was unfolding before us.
That feeling has mostly sloughed away and this week has been marked more by heaviness and low-boiling dread--this rain, I think, and also panic over the approaching end of school. The unstructured deliciousness of summer sounded great back in February, when every day is a slog of is-this-Tuesday-then-we-must-be-having-chicken-soup sameness, but now, as it roars up upon us, all I can imagine is summer's daily chaos. Last year we did too much camp, so we've neatly compensated by probably doing too little this summer, and I'm worried the kids won't get enough swim time, or exercise, or mental stimulation. I'm also worried they'll eat M alive, or if not him, then his ability to get any work done at all. I imagine nine straight hours of "STOP SAYING THAT" and "that's MY ice cream cone eraser" and "why does HE get a playdate" and "IT'S NOT FAIR!" Meanwhile I'll be at work, writhing in sympathetic suffering and feeling constantly compromised. Also wishing I could be at home to make sure everybody does their daily writing and page of math and reading and etc. Secretly I see summer as my chance to cram into the kids' heads all the things I think they might be missing during the school year and I am constantly irritated at how employment interferes with my ability to homeschool.
Good times. I must strenuously remind myself that in 15 years, when the kids have turned out how they're going to turn out, I will remember this state of mind as happiness. It's hard to believe, I know. But it's true. That certainty is a little magic pebble I keep in my pocket and touch now and then, for comfort.