The First Day of Spring 2013
Some days everything goes wrong.
You get up and discover it snowed, again, and it’s supposed to be spring. You check on your cats and find that one has been sick, though no one admits to this mess. You try to feed the ducks with the cracked corn, but cannot. The path is filled with knee-deep snow, so you throw their food from the kitchen window towards where they sit outside, and a gust of snow-filled wind blows the corn back into the room.
The guy who contracted to plow the driveway while your husband is away hasn’t shown and you’re supposed to take your Mum to her doctor’s appointment for 9 am, so you go outside to shovel. There is a ridge as high as your wheel wells at the end of the driveway and the street plow keeps filling in what you’ve shovelled. You shovel and shovel. You re-enter the house to learn your mother’s appointment has been postponed until tomorrow, because of the weather.
One of the cats (which one remains a mystery) finds some of the cracked corn, eats it and throws it up on the mat…right where you step when you come in the door. Another cat (who wishes to remain anonymous) knocks a glass off the counter. It splinters over the floor.
You tidy up the bigger pieces and fetch the vacuum cleaner. For some reason, it doesn’t work. You fiddle with the duct tape covered wires until it starts. You vacuum a little. The floor needs a cleaning anyway. The vacuum dies. No amount of wiggling of wires will encourage it to operate. You put the vacuum cleaner away and fetch the broom and dustpan to finish.
You phone the plow guy and discover he has forgotten the arrangement. You are not surprised. You remind him and he says he’ll be right over after lunch. “No later than 1:30 pm,” he says.
At 4 pm, you begin to think unkind thoughts about the plow guy. In the meantime, you’ve called the newspaper a couple times to ask about where your paper is today. “It is late because of the storm, but it’ll be there by 3,” the recording tells you. You notice it is after 4.
Then, there it is, wrapped in a blue plastic bag sitting on top of the snow bank at the end of the driveway. You pull on your tall boots and wade out to retrieve it. You are halfway there when the street plow thunders by, grabbing your paper and depositing it three houses away, buried under hard-packed snow boulders.
You turn around and slip in your own foot holes. Trying to steady yourself, you flail like the ducks as they land and fall over into the snow. You lie there; a turtle on its back. You flop around and right yourself, return to the house. The cats greet you with chirps and meows, interested in the snow piles you are now shedding.
You are wet, chilled and thinking unkind thoughts about the paper delivery person and the street plow driver. The cats lick snow from your pants and the floor. They cough a bit, but refrain from throwing up. Perhaps it’s the look you give them.
You decide it’s time for a hot chocolate with many tiny marshmallows. Many. You need them. Your stepson calls and though he works long hours, he offers to come by on his way home today and snow blow your driveway. You feel grateful. Relieved. Saved. His kindness touches you.
You sit by the fireplace and drink your hot chocolate. The cats gather round, kneading spaces beside you on the couch, settling to sleep. You scoop the marshmallows from the bottom of your cup with your finger and lick the sticky sweetness.
Then just before 5 pm, the plow guy comes and makes a quick single cut down the middle of your driveway. You are surprised. A bad day can become a good one, if you wait long enough.
You call your stepson and thank him, tell him the driveway is OK. You try not to think about the vacuum cleaner; a problem for another day. And you settle into the warm couch with the cats.The snow has stopped and the sun shines through the clouds. You smile as you notice...the clouds look just like marshmallows melting.