Whatever Meaning it Has

The days are long enough now that if I wake in the dark I know I’ve woken too early. Even this morning at 4:30, too soon for my tastes by 40 minutes or more, I could just discern the slimmest of openings in the night, a crack from which the day would soon emerge. I thought to go back to sleep, but the cat was mewling incessantly, and I couldn’t quite bring myself to close my eyes against the emergent light, so I stepped softly downstairs to toss the cat over the threshold and light a fire. Day after day it happens like this: The cat, the stairs, the threshold, the fire, and it’s the ever-repeating nature of this ritual, the sheer ordinariness of it, that imbue it with whatever meaning it has.

Later I ride my bicycle across a landscape of exploding green. It feels like everything is springing to life at once, and it’s a very good feeling. The late afternoon light is diffuse and the air is so, so soft, almost as if it were embedded with gossamer strands of silk. Agitated by my passing, an obese beagle runs ineffective laps inside the confines of a fenced yard. He doesn’t bark, maybe because he’s too fat to run and bark at the same time, or maybe just because he’s not into multi-tasking. He’s not the least bit threatening, and wouldn’t be even if there wasn’t that fence. I know I could kick his ass, and if for any reason that didn’t work, I know I can outrun him. My bike is fast, my legs are strong, and the road runs steadily downhill, into a valley where the dandelions are in full bloom and the air is softer still.

11 thoughts on “Whatever Meaning it Has”

  1. I’d beware the beagle. His day may come; his master lax on the gate, he’ll put on a quick silent burst, of which the shear momentum will wipe you out!

  2. Hi Ben….I was in need of a good laugh and the line about the beagle being too fast to run and bark at the same time did it! Thanks much.

    BTW…spring is exploding here on Cape Cod. Apple tree blooms are at their peak and the lilacs are coming out. It’s all good!

  3. I appreciate your gift of words every time you send it to my inbox.

    After spending every one of my 42 years in suburbia, we finally took the leap to a rural area in Wisconsin, and inherited 18 chickens from the previous owner. After only 6 weeks, the morning routine is already relatable. No window coverings necessary out here in the country, so wake up with the sun and roosters. Then proceed with the necessary rituals.
    We bought 25 guinea keets last week, and man are they voracious. So added more to the routine. And like you, I ponder it sometimes & wonder what meaning it has, but suspect it will remain one of life’s happy mysteries.

  4. Just make sure you are not riding alongside me when you have such calculations. I so dislike being beagle bait.

    1. Ah yes, it’s the old “I don’t need to be faster than the bear, just faster than my friend” ethos.

  5. That first paragraph describes my mornings of late to a “T” – except that there are two early rising cats here. It’s a contest between the roosters and the cats as to who makes the most noise in the morning, all of them wanting to get out and see what the day will hold. Then, there’s the old dog who is not as eager to go out early and snores louder than most grown men. I love the image of the field of dandelions spreading out in front of you. One of my favorite plants of all time. They are so cheerful – it mystifies me that there are rows of products in garden centers dedicated to their annihilation. But, I don’t get a lot of things. Enjoy your Spring!

  6. Are the fiddleheads ready yet?

    We used to start picking them around the 20th of May and continue in our hot spots for the next 2 to 3 weeks, starting in the bottom ground along the Connecticut River and moving on to higher elevations.

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