I’m trying to treasure this spring. It is the first of its kind for me and possibly unique. This is the first year John and I have lived in our house, but we’re only the most recent in a long line of caretakers for not just the building, but the little plot of land on which it sits.

We bought the house in the fall and didn’t have much of a chance to speak with the previous owners, so we don’t know much about what they planted where. It didn’t occur to us, in the cold of November, to ask them what the naked trees would show themselves to be come spring. I’m glad we didn’t.

We’re pretty sure that the plant that’s putting off an increasingly yellow aura is forsythia. It won’t be long before that early bloomer reveals itself. John’s loving that plant fiercely to make up for the disdain I shower upon it. I have little affection for the toxic yellow harbinger of allergen doom, I can’t lie.

As much as I’m rooting for the forsythia to turn out to be something completely different, I’m cheering for the hedge behind it that looks promisingly like lilac. I’m holding my breath to find out what color roses will bloom from the two scraggly bushes beside the house. I’m cat-killing curious to see what the hedge behind the house will turn out. I’m impatient for summer to tell which of the brambles on the edge of the woods will bear raspberries. I’m eager to find out if this is a blooming year in the life cycle of our little apple tree. And I’m slightly petrified of the purple alien tentacles that are peeking out of the soil on the sunny side of the house.

It’s possible that next year I will be just as kid-on-Christmas-Eve anxious to greet the new plants, buds, and leaves as spring crowns, but the anxiety will be different. I’ll know what I’m excited to meet. I’ll know what that mysterious bush at the top of the driveway will bear. I’ll know what bulbs I’ve planted in the rock-strewn flower bed. What I imagine for them will be dimmed by my knowledge of what they are.

And that’s okay. That’s life, that’s love. But for now, I am savoring the uncharted possibility of what could be.

The Beast of the Season

There are two times of year that I adore. When winter shrugs off its snowy coat and melts into the muddy smell of spring, I revel in the way my heart lifts. When summers heat gives way before the chilly kiss of a fall breeze, I snuggle into the season with delight. You all know how fond I am not of change, but the extreme changes between seasons are different. They are magic.

Unfortunately, as I have slowly begun to grow older, my sinuses have decided that they are going to tow the party line on distaste for change. What used to be a minor case of congestion and watery eyes for a day or two each spring and fall has grown into a beast that rides around in my nasal cavities for weeks. It’s not a cute beast of the sort a body might be inclined to domesticate either. Full-grown allergies, my friends, are loathsome.

They’re also sneaky. Each year, they’ve been getting worse by degrees so small that I hardly noticed the change. It didn’t even occur to me that I could fight back until I was talking with my doctor about my fruitless battle against the ear wax that it seemed no amount of aural hygiene could keep from plugging up my ears last spring.

“It might not just be ear wax,” she told me. “If you have allergies, it could be congestion. Try taking a non-drowsy decongestant for a few days when your allergies are at their worst.”

In the spring, this worked like a charm. Two or three days of some generic anti-allergies-D and I was on top of the world again. When the allergies attacked this fall, I waited for what felt like it might be close to the peak of the bad allergy run and enthusiastically embraced better living through chemistry. I felt great.

The trouble is…the allergies haven’t gone away yet. My doctor said I should only have to take the pills for a few days during the worst of the season, but I’ve been waking myself up with sneezing every morning for a month now. It’s getting old. Chemistry, it turns out, can only take you so far. I had taken the pills maybe five or six days in a row when I noticed that I was feeling as hyped up and anxious as though I’d been consuming caffeine. Given that caffeine is on my list of things to avoid 351 days of the year, I didn’t know what to make of this until I recalled that non-drowsy allergy medicine is one of those substances you’re only allowed to buy in small quantities because it can be used to make some version of speed.

Sure enough, when I looked at the warnings, the box said to not take the stuff for more than a week at a time and noted that increased anxiety was a possible side effect. There you go. With great grief, I stuck the box back in the cupboard instead of taking my daily dose. Anxiety and I do not need to be spending any extra time in one another’s company, so I resolved to content myself with tissues and fluid and hope that the worst would soon be over.

That was when I discovered another weapon nature has tucked into the arsenal of the allergies monster. Sand in the eyes. I would be fine for most of the day, but come seven or so in the evening, my eyes would begin to burn as if some nasty thing was stabbing them randomly with pins. No amount of flushing or basic eye drops would reduce the agony. Even closing my eyes was painful. This went on for three or four evenings, putting me on the verge of calling my doctor, when John wondered in passing if there might be better eye drops for whatever was going on with my eyes than just the plain red eye removal ones we had in the cupboard.

Have I ever mentioned that I could spend the rest of my life kissing that man?

We went to the grocery store the next morning and sure enough, there are better eye drops. Being a person who was more fond of my optician than my pediatrician as a child, I have had all manner of things dumped into my eyes, but I was still unprepared for the hundreds of options we found in the grocery store, of all places. If this was a carefully curated selection of the most popular options meant to get the best profit for limited shelf space, then I don’t want to guess how many eye drop companies there are in this country. I’d like to say I’m all in favor of small companies and diversity in options, but let’s be honest. My eyes were in pain and the print was small…I went with the one on the top left that had the word “allergy” in large print on the box.

So far, I am not regretting it. My nose may still be in a certain amount of distress, but I’m counting myself lucky that I can see to enjoy the magic of the birth of fall.

On Walking

On the unlikely chance that you’re among the small number of my readers who are not in New England, it’s worth mentioning that the past three days had been starting to give John and I doubts that the world would not end in rain. Three days of torrential rain and vicious wind—and I do mean vicious. Have you ever noticed that the wind this time of year is nothing short of spiteful? I swear, it deliberately changes directions just to blow in my face and blind me. If I holler at it, it might stop for a minute…just long enough to catch it’s breath to mock me with a gustier gale. Seriously, I could put up with the rain it it weren’t for the wind.


But we had wind, and it had it in for us on Sunday. We were backed into a corner by our pantry. One more day of macaroni and cheese was just not an acceptable option, so we had to brave the weather and the late Sunday afternoon parking to buy groceries. We had a nice big umbrella, so it would have been fine if the rain was only falling down. Which it would have been, if not for the wind.


Let’s just say it was a generally disheartening experience that was worsened by the fact that we got to the building with the groceries only to have John realized that he wasn’t sure he had turned his lights off. Worse still, we had to park on a meter, and it was still pouring at 7:30 the next morning when we had to move the car—giving me yet another good reason to be thankful for my loving, self-sacrificing husband who did not ask me to get out of our warm cozy bed to keep him company while he fought for a non-metered daytime spot.


Needless today, when we woke up this morning to see a hint of real, honest-to-goodness sunshine kissing the top of the building, we were thrilled. Thrilled enough to voluntarily leave our bunker of an apartment to meander up to buy a birthday present for one of my darling sisters at one of the world’s most wonderful stores. There is nothing in the world compared to walking out into a cloudless spring day after three long days and nights of relentless rain pounding in your ears. It’s as good as jumping into a cool lake on a hot day, or curling up with a cup of hot chocolate during a snowstorm.


Especially when the walk is set to the soundtrack of a man on a bike with a bucket, rhythmically forming his own one-man, mobile percussion section.


Have I mentioned that I like spring?