|Photo by B. A. Nilsson|
It’s not so rural here as to be without supermarkets and big-box stores, which perch about twenty minutes away in the struggling city of Amsterdam. But the supermarkets here (as have yours, I’m sure) are now limiting their hours and the hardware giants are limiting the number of customers allowed within, asking their overflow customers to wait in a well-spaced line, said spacing demarcated by PVC pipe sculptures reminiscent of a Christo installation.
Yet with the official start of spring have come actual hints of the season itself. The grimy, granular snow, which never reached an oppressive accumulation, is being washed away despite a few weak attempts at revival. Birdsong has increased. And the driveway that leads to our fields shows the surest sign: it has turned into a rutted mudhole.
What’s different is the start-of-spring scheduling. This is a time when it’s easy to get rid of outdoor debris, before the burdock and nettles obscure the view – indeed, it’s a time to try to get rid of burdock and nettles, neither of which I cook with, both of which inflict their seeds and/or pain when I’m among them. Usually my project-driven brain has me psychologically tied to my desk chair as I scramble to finish some cerebral project. Now I have so few of those facing me that it’s a joy to ramble in the chilly outdoors.
So our little paradise remains inviting – a paradise found, I suppose, as those sardined into cities have to grapple more directly with what’s around them. I have long regretted that I bypassed the chance to advance my career, such as it was, as a resident of Manhattan (or, more likely, an adjacent borough), but I’ve already been aging out of that desire as my stumblebum career continues to resist sprouting the wings I’d dreamed would soar me into fortune.
I’m pretty fortunate where I am. Fate? Some manner of divine plan? Not at all. Sheer dumb luck. I’ll take it.