There is a bluejay that pecks at our deckside birdfeeder every morning. He started coming a few weeks ago, just when our exoduses outside became longer and less dependent on insulating head-to-toe regalia. Now, our visit from the bluejay is a regular thing. Just when the early spring sunshine hints at carrying morning into our living room, the bluejay’s swooping flight brings the new day directly to our window.
Around this time of the morning, Elle is still in her pajamas. Mornings have always been hard for Craig and me, since we have consistently chosen sleep over easygoing coffee- drinking and bird-watching before we really must begin the day. But with Elle in her pajamas and the bluejay at the window, I’m finding it difficult to feel rushed in the mornings.
How can I hurry her downstairs to get dressed, I wonder, when her nose is pressed so endearingly against the fingerprinted glass of the deck door, while our bluejay eats his breakfast? Instead of diving into the work of the day, I think I would rather watch the back of her little head, resisting the urge to try and tame the frizzy nest that has sprung up there, while she marvels at the actions of that funny pecking bird.
With springtime speeding headlong towards us (I’ve always believed March is the fastest month of the year), I feel an internal winding down. Which maybe doesn’t make much sense, since winter is supposed to be the time that we humans hunker down, eating crockpot meals and stuffing our little ones into puffy snowsuits to go out and play – which they have a hard time doing, since they can’t bend their knees and elbows. Springtime, when all things start moving around again, would seem like the time to shake off winter’s dull comforter and get going!
But around here, seasons have different connotations. Instead of being the time we burrow in, winter is when we mountain people climb peaks with skis strapped to our backs, and search for powder, and go skate skiing and winter hiking (with babies strapped to our backs or chests or being dragged in contraptions behind us). This is all while working hard at one or two jobs, because that’s when we need to make money. So for us, springtime, and all of its behind-the-scenes action – the nonstop trickle of winter’s snow draining off the ledges, the quickly disappearing snowbank in the driveway, the cheery chirping birds that flock to the birdfeeder – all mean it’s time to slow down.
The problem, though, is that this year my internal clock has wound down too early. The final weeks of the ski season are brimming with work, sport and social obligations. So while I want to just stay in my pajamas and sip coffee while Elle leaves little nose marks on the window, watching our bluejay scatter birdseed around the deck, I actually do have to hurry up. And so I’m forced to break the spell, snatching Elle away from the window so I can pull a T-shirt over her head, and brush her hair, and scrub her cheeks (all things she despises, especially when she could be banging on the window at her bluejay.)
Strapping her into her car seat, wrestling errant arms and legs, I try to allay her fussing by telling her that in just a few more weeks our mornings won’t feel so hectic. It will be springtime, and that means that we’ll have so much more time – time with Dada, and Eddy-dog and the bluejay. But she’s unconvinced, I can tell. A 1-year-old has, I believe, very little respect for promises made for the future. Especially when all those promises could be fulfilled right now, when springtime sun streams across the deck and our bluejay comes to visit.