Anne Notations

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Short month. Long wait.

Long wait for spring, that is. Just ask the crows, above, waiting outside Iggy's Chowder and Doughboys this brisk Sunday morning for the return of warm-weather outdoor diners and their dropped french fries, clamcake crumbs, and half-eaten hamburger rolls.

Spring? It's a fairly theoretical notion in New England. Right about now, in mid-February, as the sun begins to loop higher in the sky and linger in the afternoons, we all start to get the fever. Sure, the air is still frosty, the wind screams around the eaves at night, and crusts of stubborn, dirt-pocked snow and ice remain on the shady side of our streets. But spring comes to seem possible, and worse, desirable. We want it now!

This is when I envy the snowbirds, those fortunate residents of the north who head to Florida, St. Croix, and other warm places to wait out the butt-end of winter. Time was when such migrations weren't only the province of the privileged. My grandfather left school after eighth grade and worked in factories that made tacks and nails all his adult life. My grandmother gave piano lessons to neighbor children for a quarter. Once Grandpa retired, the two of them spent part of each winter in "St. Pete", driving to Florida in their big Chrysler sedan and renting a little house among other retirees for a few months. By Easter they'd be back in Massachusetts, ready to start preparing the vegetable patch and fertilize the lawn.

My "St. Pete" is closer to home. It's an attitude, a way of seeing photogenic details that distract me from the bleak wait for spring in February, March, and early April.

Like this tree at the beach with a hollow heart.

A bare willow weeping over Warwick's 9/11 memorial.

A pair of googly eyes in the sand.

Tall rushes swishing in the onshore breeze.


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