Spring, Muddy Feet and Rainbows

March 29. I am 69 years and four days old, and wonder why I feel like I’m much younger — at least mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Physically, not so much. Sometimes it hurts to get out of bed. And don’t get me started about splitting wood. But, I can still do both. That is enough reason to celebrate. It’s really and finally spring today. The dog and I went for a walk — a great method of self-isolation — and got our feet good and muddy while taking joy in the delicious odor of sun exposed buckbrush (Ceanothus velutinus). It is beginning to suck life out of newly-thawed soil and release its sweet, pungent esters into the air.

The world made a switch today, from lingering winter to progressive spring. I was pleased and honored to witness it. I anticipate a time when we make a similar switch from this strange and scary time of personal isolation — more frightening and trying for some than others — to a more normalized version of life, when every other human might not seem to be a threat. There are a lot of theorists expounding a lot of theories about the uncertain future of life as we know it, from craven paranoiacs to escapist Pollyannas and everywhere in between. Being informed is good, but being over-informed isn’t so great. Being thoughtful is a necessity, but overthinking is an exercise in “what if,” which, in my experience, always leads to “We’re all gonna die!”

That, by the way, is correct, but let’s take the exclamation point off and just admit that every one of us is eventually going leave our creaturely shell behind to dissipate into that great mass of molecules, energy and empty space that is the universe. What then becomes of our spirit — that innate, lively something-or-other that is quintessentially “us” — is up for debate. I have my own thoughts about that, but that is neither here nor there to this purpose.

I’m retiring day after tomorrow, and the travels I anticipated and the people I planned to visit are, evidently, going to have to wait. Two weeks of skiing every day — maybe next year. The big retirement party — not on your life, or anyone else’s, for that matter. The trip to Alaska — ha. The road trip with a friend we had planned for this week — toast.

But today, the dog and I took a ramble around, got our feet good and muddy and had a sweet whiff of resurrecting buck brush. I said hello to my brother and sister, had phone calls with a new friend, an old friend, and the really good friend who won’t be taking that road trip with me. I got a couple of stellar e-mails, one of which was so good it made me cry. And, at the end of the day, as we were approaching home with muddy feet, a rainbow appeared at the end of my brother’s driveway, reminding me of the promise God made Noah at the end of the flood, the bridge via which the Valkyries will take some of us to Asgard and the universal magnificence of physics.
Like getting out of bed and splitting wood, all of those are reasons to celebrate. Don’t forget.
And watch for rainbows.

Spring, Muddy Feet and Rainbows

This was cross-posted from the Sandpoint Reader. Please consider donating to our local publication during this difficult time.