“April is in my mistress’ face,
And July in her eyes hath place;
Within her bosom is September,
But in her heart a cold December…”
–madrigal by Thomas Morely, 1594
Mike and I met twenty-nine years ago today, on a warm April evening.
I was wearing a pink spring dress, no jacket necessary.
Twenty-nine years later, here I sit, under a winter storm warning, wearing a flannel shirt and Mike’s winter scarf.
Ironically, we met at a meeting of a ski club, held at a then quite new, but now very well established, brewpub. The event purportedly was to showcase the next season’s planned trips, but it was actually a thinly-disguised singles thing.
Mike didn’t ski. Neither did his buddy, who dragged him along as his wingman.
I didn’t know that then.
The girl pal I dragged along didn’t ski, either. Bad back.
Turned out I was the only one of the four of us who had a legitimate excuse to be there.
It’s been a very long time since I’ve gone skiing. It’s on my bucket list, if my knees can take it. Maybe next year.
As for today, I can feel my ritualizing of anniversaries fading. This is the third without him, and he never made much of them anyway.
So today I’m thinking more about whether my just-emerging snow peas will live up to their name.
I’m not sure the lettuce, spinach, chard and beets I planted two weeks ago, in a burst of April-faced gardening enthusiasm (“this year, I’ll finally get them in the ground early enough!!”) will make it.
When the snow started, I ran out and cut several small bunches of hyacinth and daffodils and brought them in the house to enjoy.
But I left that snow-shrouded bunch pictured up there, and a few of the daffodils, to fend for themselves. I think they’ll make it.
As for the spring flowering trees, and the trees in general, this snowstorm brings a whole new meaning to “nip it in the bud.”
From the height of them, though, most of the trees around my house have been there for much longer than I’ve been here. On this planet, I mean. Definitely “old growth” trees.
They might lose a branch or two in this heavy, wet, spring snow, but clearly, if they’ve been here that long, they’ve been through this before. They can get through this now.
It’s all supposed to melt tomorrow, anyway.
Annually, I remind people I meet in grocery or garden stores, people who couldn’t resist wearing shorts and flip-flops on the very first warm day in March, that it always snows again in April.
How sweet of me.
Cold December heart.
Obviously, I called the last storm too early this year.
I should have known better. Like the trees, I’ve been through this before. I have a distinct memory of myself on a June afternoon, sitting on the screen porch my father built, wearing shorts and a sleeveless shirt (hey, I was fat, but I was 5), coloring, when a sudden whoosh of wind swept the warmth away in a nanosecond and blew snow flurries through the screens.
And I should have known better than to think that Mike wouldn’t send some kind of recognition of this anniversary to me in this world, from his timeless place in the next, as a little rejoinder to that remark about him not making much of anniversaries.
Because, just now, as I am writing this, an ad came on the radio.
For the brewpub where we met.
The snow hasn’t melted yet, but the December in my heart just did.
Missing Mike and grateful for a good, carthartic cry, I remain,