Songbirds for Snowplows. ~ Jess Sheppard

Via Jess Sheppard
on Mar 21, 2014
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Muskoka backyard on Vernal Equinox 2014

Warning: naughty language ahead.

There is a raging blizzard as I look out my window. Tiny frozen flakes of water are being flung around as though they waited hours in line to ride the tea cups at Disney World.

It is the first day of spring and I am so sick of this shit.

Where I live we have four seasons. We are lucky—some places are stuck with only a couple—or worse, only one. I couldn’t live in a preset singular climate. I need change. No, I crave change. Waking up everyday to the exact same weather and environment would probably drive me insane. Literally.

And while I rage against the length and extremes of certain seasons I still need them. Appreciate them, and yes even love them.  They all hold things that I couldn’t live without. They make me appreciate the other seasons’ flaws that much more. How can you appreciate a truly balmy, humid day in late July if not for the bone rattling chill of deep winter in February?

Our seasons are distinct—they rarely merge nor bleed into one another as they are want to do in other climes. There always seems to be a clear defining line of change. A new adventure unfurling.

That being said, sometimes they get confused and relapse like a heartbroken lover answering that three am phone call. They think they can prolong their stay or attempt to exhibit their characteristic “charms” longer than warranted, or the day after an obvious shift in weather perspective; but they do all come around eventually.

Take for instance today—Vernal equinox. My New Years Day as it were. There is nothing springlike about our weather. Oh, Winter—you couldn’t just leave the party gracefully, say your goodbyes, and wish Spring all the best in a classy fashion. No, you are the drunk, sloppy sorority girl who has shown up early, over stayed her welcome and generally made a nuisance of herself. Sorry dear Spring-you are patient and far too kind to deal with this.

Everything about spring though screams adventure and change to me. It is the highlight of my year.

Although don’t tell fall because I say the same thing then.  I can not help but worry that people I stand too close too in the grocery store line can hear the thump of my heart pump loud from in my chest at the mere thought of warm dark soil, longer days of sunlight, and of course growth and newness.

However, spring herself is no angel either. Here I prefer to refer to spring as ‘Mud’. And this is in no way derogatory to her kind heart (remember, I just called her my New Year!), it is simply a more appropriate name for her. Because mud is what I miss. And crave—in the worst way.

I have spent this long, rude, winter drooling over seed catalogues, praying for the longer days of light, and dreaming of gentle green tendrils climbing up and swaying in the warm breeze, scented with rebirth and newness. Raw. Dirt. Refreshing.

And while most dislike spring, praying she passes quickly into the lusty hot and heady Summer, I send up my thoughts asking for her to stay a little longer.

To stretch her legs and press her back into the warm verdant grass. To caress the tomatoes as they ripen on the vine, ever so slowly, and make sure they get what they need. To spend her time letting the pea sprouts surpass their trellis and become a living wall of shade for the more finicky vegetables. To let all creatures slow down and breathe.

A sigh of relief from Winter’s harshness. An inhale of sweaty nights to come. A choppy exhale as thoughts (as always) jump ahead to what comes after… Autumn… Winter.

Our garden lies dormant under three to four feet of snow still and watching the small flakes accumulate now breaks my heart. I need the soil and tiny budding plants of life more than ever at this point. I need grass between my toes, bonfires, laughter on the back deck under the twinkle lights, a glowing moon over clear cold lakes as we swim through the stars’ reflections.

I need this bad.

Someday, I would like to usher in Spring on her birthday with all the fanfare and pomp I think she deserves. Until then I will stoke my wood stove and ensure the teapot is always warm and ready.

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Editor: Bryonie Wise

Photo: courtesy of author


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About Jess Sheppard

Jess Sheppard is a multifaceted woman; born with the Pacific roaring through her veins. She grew up in the flat farmland of Southwestern Ontario, returned West to her start, then emigrated back to Ontario's North to the bedrock, windswept White Pines and cold crystal lakes. With varying education under her belt and a laundry list of jobs on her resume she is working on figuring out the best way to grow on this planet. As a Momma, yoga instructor, wannabe Mermaid and a homesteader at heart, she still finds time to work her day job and follow creative pursuits by night.

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