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Monday, January 14, 2008

An Intercalary Day


Leap year is coming, an extra day—an extra chance to live for the passion that pounds in the ears and courses through the veins. With an extra day at my disposal, I’d like to think I’d escape to a lakeside cabin, or a new city where the outdoor cafes are frequented by colorful and interesting people. I’d pack up my journals, my books and my pens, and grab some fruit and cheese.

I’d walk down the streets or along the water, and look for signs of spring in the February landscape. Red mittens pulled off of my hands, I’d free my fingers to write. Shivering over a mug of coffee, watching people hurry by on their way to whatever demands their attention, I’d be writing about their wind chapped cheeks, their flapping scarves, and the urgent clip of their shoes on the sidewalk.

I’d like to imagine that’s how I would spend that extra February day, filling the hours with the paper, ink and words I so love. But it’s more likely that I’d spend my bonus day catching up on housework, paying bills. So if you’re sitting at that little café on February 29, I’ll be the brunette woman in the black coat hurrying on my way toward whatever demands my attention. Maybe you’ll write about my red scarf flapping in the winter wind.



Worthy of Note:
February 30, 1712

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Through the Pane of Glass – Part 21

21 Days From My Window

Outside my window today the sky is gray and wet. Puddles line the street and the wind blows tiny ripples across the surface of the water. Only a few leaves still remain to cartwheel down the street---but there is no joy in watching them play. Today is the day I’d feared would come, ever since I woke to find the world encased in crystalline, cold ice. The Bradford pear lady in the yard on my left is gone. They came and cut her frail body down and carried her away. Now there is an empty space where she once stood. I guess her owner decided she was too far gone, beyond saving.

Sitting here beside my window, I think of the many mornings I peeked outside to see her and her sister in their beautiful, leafy gowns. Now her sister will dress herself in spring’s green, then summer’s white flowers, and later the colors of fall. She will stand alone, by the street, waiting for the carriage to take her to the ball. With both happy anticipation, and a tender, lonely heart, she will go on to face the snow, the rain, the winds and storms on her own. And I will watch her faithfully from my chair beside the window---and remember.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Through the Pane of Glass – Part 20

21 Days From My Window

Outside my window this morning the wind whips the American flag around the flagpole, blowing it first to the northwest, and then to the east. Two black starlings dance along the corner of my next-door neighbor’s roof. Jockeying for position, chattering loudly at each other, they side-step left and right. They suddenly drop from the roofline to fly, swooping across my window as they go. There are no birds perched on the power lines this morning, but several are darting abut the sky in ones and twos, enjoying the morning air. In the distance, a passenger jet climbs into the clouds and disappears from view.

Fifteen or twenty of the starlings are holding a meeting on the pale, yellowed lawn across the street, at the base of the pampas grass. Startled by a car in the driveway, they take flight like a WWII bomber squadron. The shadow they cast across the street is brief but surprisingly dark. The neighbor who drives the white box truck stands in the street with his head under the hood. He must be having trouble getting started this morning. I yawn, and stretch, thinking that I know exactly how he feels.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Through the Pane of Glass – Part 19

21 Days From My Window

From my window this morning I see the brown and black dog that belongs to the neighbor. She is standing at the corner of the driveway, gazing down the street. She isn’t supposed to be out of her back yard, but she doesn’t flaunt her freedom by running all over the neighborhood. Instead, she sniffs at every crumpled leaf on the lawn and inspects the four tires of her master’s truck as though she is considering a purchase.

Christmas decorations still adorn the houses across from me, though it is almost two weeks past. The wind snaps and tugs at the flags, and my friends, the trees, stand bare-branched and stoic in the winter morning sun. Maybe the neighbor’s dog stands at the street wishing there were something interesting to see in the neighborhood today. From my vantage point through the pane of glass, it looks like a typical, quiet morning---and that’s a good thing.

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