Winter Into Spring

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.”

Lao Tzu

The East Hills

The East Hills

Last Saturday, a winter storm approached from eastern Oregon. Clouds clotted the sky and through the night needle-like flakes drifted and covered the roads. At dawn, moisture arrived from the west and stalled against the frigid air. Shoulder to shoulder, the weather wrestled above the forested valleys of Hood River, dropping wet feathers of snow long into the night.

By daybreak, the clash subsided. Rain and traffic denuded the sleet upon the city’s streets and ice lay crusted next to the curbs as I walked to a morning appointment at Dr. V’s, my chiropractor. I see him frequently for persistent back pain. The problem is not related to my cancer, multiple myeloma. My disease often leads to bone deterioration and crumbling spines, but this pain has its source in the soft tissue of muscle and my misspent youth.

Winter Into Spring

Winter Into Spring

It’s about two miles to the Doc’s office, downhill one way and up on the return. I wore rain gear and stashed a collapsible umbrella in my day pack. Occasionally, sunlight pierced the marbled sky and mist rose from the pavement and smoldered with the illusion of warmth. But scowls of cloud soon returned and frowned on everyone who ventured outside. Though the rain held back, I trod uncleared sidewalks beneath leafless trees bleeding moisture from the quarreling storms.

When I reached Oak Street, the scent of fresh baked pastry wafted uphill from the small cafes in town. I arrived early for my visit with Dr. V, damp and hungry.

Pine Street Bakery

Pine Street Bakery

The Doc and his wife run the clinic alone. Our friendship goes back many, many years and shares the vicissitudes of parenthood. We talked about the upcoming birth of my first grandchild, due on St. Patrick’s Day. My son and his wife chose to forego knowing beforehand the baby’s gender, opting instead to be surprised at the time of delivery. We laughed as I shared the dreams I’d had of the child being first a girl and then a boy.

Afterwards, when I stepped outside, a rain shower dimpled the puddles. I headed south, under the bloom of my umbrella. Atop the plateau of 12th Street, I entered the Pine Street Bakery. I nibbled and sipped and watched as walkers dodged the splash of passing cars. Rested and fed, I set out for home.

Looking Out

Looking Out

Along the way, a varied thrush squealed from its perch on a lilac bush and a fricassee of wild bird chatter simmered in the thickets. The mysteries and miracles of spring and my grandchild, still suspended in the deep sleep of their gestations, accompanied me on my walk through the rain into the future of what is known and the wonder at what is not.

22 responses to “Winter Into Spring

  1. Hi John – I am back in Florida with friends as what would have been Ken’s 60th tomorrow. I wanted to be with friends or family and sunny weather. Not missing any cold times. Hope you are doing well. Tell Mar hi. And can’t wait to hear about the birth. Take care and always enjoy your thoughts.

  2. I read your post slowly, catching the rhythm of your walk into town and all the time you took to observe and experience every sight and sensation. You transmit a wonderful willingness to appreciate everything: sun or slush, clouds or clear sky. I felt a particular kinship with you when, after smelling the tantalizing pastries, you treated yourself to a stop at the bakery on your way home. The reader gets to feel that deep satisfaction right along with you. Thanks

  3. As we’ve learned, life is in the details. Knowing what was, and knowing what will be isn’t as important as noticing what is. Beautifully stated and done. Good luck with the new grandchild – since you’ve dreamed of both boys and girls have you considered twins? :)

    • LOL. We do know that there is just one child. Perhaps the names being considered will work for either a boy or girl. Thanks for your kind words Jeff.

  4. Huzzah for babies! Many congratulations on impending grandfathering. The fricassee phrase was a perfect side dish to my lunch today. Always a pleasure reading your words.

    • Thanks Blaze. I wondered (worried?) whether my “foodie” friends could digest that “simmering” phrase. Glad you found it palatable.

  5. Thanks, John. I, too, felt as if I were walking HR with you. I did stumble on “fricassee” attached to the chatter of the birds, but I liked it that you came back with “simmered” to cement the image. As I always tell my friends, your blog is much more thoughtful than my food writings. Ha!

    • Thanks Janet. I worried about you in particular when cooking up that phrase. :) I’m glad you didn’t push it off to the side of your reading plate.

      • I believe that we need to take occasional chances in crafting a piece. The results can be surprising, refreshing and from the depths of our writing souls. (I did read the sentence a couple of times, though.) I can’t wait to read about your first grandchild.

  6. Love your writing and wondering if you are now officially a Grandpa! Being a Grandma is truly one of my greatest joys! #6 is due in May for us! Best wishes!

    • Thanks Linda. I hope you and EZ are well.

      Our granddaughter, Savannah Joan was born 3/14/14 at 11:30 pm. Mom and baby are well and back home. :)

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