I got down on my hands and knees and scrubbed the kitchen floor this weekend. I scoured the dimpled linoleum to its true color that I have never liked but which is nonetheless clean. The bleach made my hands red and caused the tiny cuts I was not aware I had to sting, but it felt really good when I was finished.
I set up the hammock and the tire swing in the backyard maple, its miserly offering of sap this season all forgiven. I am raking dry grass and seed pods this afternoon toward a small fire on the old concrete slab at the back of the property that was once the floor of a carriage house. Yesterday I cooked my Easter Dinner over such a fire in cast iron pots brought home from Africa and unused since. Anticipate a post on how to bake onion beer bread in a number 3 potjie as soon as I have the chance to upload the photographs.
It is another glorious day, alone with time that is all mine. The cast iron wind chime my sister gave us as a wedding present is clanging like the bell buoys of Maine in this light breeze. I see that all the ornamental trees in the neighborhood are bursting to bloom, even as the wild apples in the field beyond the garden gate have yet to flower. This is wise of the apples, for a cold rain may wash away the pollen and ruin the crop.
I am walking around barefoot on ground that has only just thawed. I feel it give way beneath the pressure of my feet, yet rebound without recording the impression of my passage. I notice the ephemeral wildflowers in my shade garden are mostly above ground, now, with trillium leaves unfurling even now and blood root not far behind. There are the tips of yellow lady slippers, and jack-in-the-pulpit, and giant Solomon's seal. Welcome back, my friends. I will clear away the dross of winter to give you space to breathe.
I smell the woodsmoke and the crackle of dry grass from the little fire and it reminds me of fire lines I have tended in prescribed burns. An old friend and lover who reads this blog once wrote the line "What is love but a leaf pile burning", but I think it is also a drip torch, the old tool of my trade as sometimes squad leader of an ignition crew dragging fire through the cat brier and bluestem on the Cape and Islands. Equal parts gas and diesel, and from this, well applied, the renewal of pine forest and sandplain grasslands and the rarities they contain. Love is stepping back into the black when the flame blows back, using fire to direct fire, and unaware of how the smoke permeates clothes, hair and skin until out of the fire and back in polite company.