Up earlier than usual. The air is calling.
Spring air is different from winter air.
Tree branches are serrated with red bud teeth.
Later, they grow chartreuse fuzz, making pale green auras in the sun.
Summer leaves will be dark, shading, but spring leaves let the light through.
Spring trees glow in the daytime, spreading translucent canopies.
The birds are out, racketing their news from bush to branch. Cats are still curled up on fire escapes. They are in no hurry to get up in the cool morning air and they know it will warm up later. They are watching the birds. They can wait.
The air is clear, clean cool. The smells are tiny smells, little whiffs of green, a ribbon of brown mud, the blue smell of the sky. Midday is mild enough for short sleeves. I eat my lunch outsider, sitting on a warm brick wall. The breeze lifts my hair and riffles the edge of my skirt. I have to squint. Everything tastes better.
Until today I had been too huddled in my winter coat to notice the quiet coming of flowers. Suddenly, daffodils smile in my face, parrot tulips wave their beaky petals, and fragrant white blossoms are pinned to dogwood trees like bows in a young girl’s hair.
The evening is soft. I need my thin jacket.
It’s still light out when I walk home from the Metro.
I could walk for hours.
Like a kid playing street games with her friends, I don’t want to go in.
When I went to work this morning, I left my windows open.
Spring came in through the screens while I was gone.
It’s as if I had used a big sliver key and rolled back the roof like a lid on a sardine can.
The indoors smell like the outdoors.
It will be like lying down in the grass to sleep.
The sheets are cool. The quilt is warm.
The light fades outside my windows. This weekend, I think I’ll wash my car.
I’ve opened the curtain of my east window here above the computer, and I sit now in a holy theater before a sky-blue stage. A little cloud above the neighbor’s trees resembles Jimmy Durante’s nose for a while, then becomes amorphous as it slips on north. Other clouds follow: big and little and tiny on their march toward whereness. Wisps of them lead or droop because there must always be leading and drooping.
The trees seem to laugh at the clouds while yet reaching for them with swaying branches. Trees must think that they are real, rooted, somebody, and that perhaps the clouds are only tickled water which sometimes blocks their sun. But trees are clouds too, of green leaves—clouds that only move a little. Trees grow and change and dissipate like their airborne cousins.
And what am I but a cloud of thoughts and feelings and aspirations? Don’t I put out tentative mists here and there? Don’t I occasionally appear to other people as a ridiculous shape of thoughts without my intending to? Don’t I drift toward the north when I feel the breezes of love and the warmth of compassion?
If clouds are beings and beings are clouds, are we not all well advised to drift—to feel the wind tucking us in here and plucking us out there? Are we such rock-hard bodily lumps as we imagine?
Drift, let me. Sing to the sky, will I. one in many, are we. Let us breathe the breeze and find therein our toots in the spirit.
I close the curtain now, feeling broader, fresher. The act is over. Applause is sweeping through the trees.