The back of our house has big windows that face full east, so that we get a glorious view of the sunrise coming up from the trees behind our house, and then are treated to the slow progression of dull dawn light, to melty golden light that flows in our windows and sticks to the floor and walls.
On sunny mornings, we all bask in it. The dogs and cats stretch out in lazy, overlapping piles, all feuds momentarily forgotten. Even Pan, who abhors lying on the bare floor, will melt into a puddle of tawny fur.
Jenna and I sit at the table, each of us in front of a window so that the sunshine catches in the steam from our tea and becomes pure magic. Jordan, when he’s home, retreats to the bedroom with the baby, where the sun stretches out on the unmade bed.
I’ve had a lot of time to observe the sunshine lately, because my new job is on hold while HR processes my paperwork (which seems to be a never ending process, as it’s taken almost the whole month of April). The sunshine—and my son—are the two things I miss most about being at work all day, so although our funds are slowly slipping lower and lower, I can’t complain about the sudden vacation.
Lately, I’ve been waking Jenna early so that we can read books aloud while the sun is still on the walls. She’s infamous for her ability to sleep through anything (and for being rather angry when woken) so my favorite tactic is to let Chara out of the side door and whisper to her, “Where’s Jenna? Where’s Pan?”
The question burns for Chara. She can’t let it go. She usually does one sniffing lap of the backyard, and then arrives at Jenna’s door. Her tail wags in huge, floppy semicircles as she snuffles along the bottom of the door.
Her arrival wakes Pan, and once Pan is up, Jenna has no choice—she’s soon up too. The best part about all of this is that I can watch safely from the kitchen window while Chara escorts them inside. By the time Jenna’s reached me, her feet have touched morning dew, she’s inhaled the crisp, glorious morning air, and she no longer wants to strangle me.
I hand her a mug of tea—always green—and her feelings change from mildly ruffled to content.
Then we sit down and I crack open our book for a bit of reading aloud, while Indy hoots and squeals as he plays on the floor nearby. Afterward, we eat breakfast—sometimes oatmeal sweetened with honey and cream until it’s like the porridge in the Three Little Bears: just right. Other times fried eggs, lacy at the edges from hot oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper, over cubed sweet potatoes and greens.
It’s a lovely tradition. And I know it’ll go extinct once I start at work again—because then mornings are usually hurried, rushed affairs in our household—but for now I’m savoring it.
Once we’ve finished eating and clearing up, I attach the baby to my hip and we troop out to the garden to observe the night’s growth and pluck any weeds. This is the first garden I’ve actually gotten to grow. I like to say that I have a black thumb, but in my defense, we also tend to move before I have the chance to let the seeds do more than sprout.
Now that we’re installed in this house for a spell, I have the opportunity to actually have a fair go at it.
It’s been interesting, watching my veggies sprout, I feel it reveals a certain disorganization on my part. The carrots have done well, the onions are flourishing, the tomatoes a healthy green. But I seem to have gone mildly insane when planting the Serrano peppers. There are about twenty tiny sprouts all in a circle about the size of a golf ball. Each morning I gaze at them in wonder. Did I take a handful of seeds and shove it into the earth unknowingly? Did some bizarre force of nature draw all the seeds I had planted together? I’m so flummoxed by it that I can’t bring myself to thin them.
They aren’t the only sign of disorganization: the lima beans overlap with the summer squash. The basil ranges wide and far across the bed. The marigolds are coming up in clumps. The spinach has opted not to come up at all, and I’m wondering if it’s already to hot for it to germinate properly. Maybe it’s because I planted with a baby in one hand? I did give him several seed packets to play with….
When not gardening or forcing my little sister to listen to me read my favorite books to her, I’ve been jogging with the dogs. Only one dog at a time, which is a painful choice to have to make each time I approach the door with my sneakers on.
Wren always shows the most excitement over any potential walk—she hops up and down (a feat for a three legged dog on hardwood floors), pants, wiggles and twitches manically. Chara is much more subdued, but there’s something in her eyes that says, “Go without me and I’ll never forgive you.” And I believe her, because she’s a dog of her word.
If I choose Chara, Wren spends the entire time we’re gone on the couch, gazing out at the street in the direction we went, crying. If I choose Wren, Chara retreats to her bed and curls into a tight little ball, and refuses to get up to greet us when we get home. To make it fair I alternate dogs, though each time it’s difficult to leave one of them behind.
They’re dramatically different running partners. Wren pulls for the first mile—and pulls hard. Hard enough that I usually loop the leash around my hips so that I get a little extra speed. Then she gets tired and becomes very erratic, zigzagging from scent to scent, looping the wrong way around mailboxes, stopping so suddenly to pee that I almost trip over her. I’m always one wrong step from a twisted ankle. But her enthusiasm and joy for the entire thing make up for it.
Chara is well trained and steady. She’s logged many miles at my side and knows the routine—within a few steps she’s settled into an easy lope at my side. Occasionally she looks up at me with her liquid golden eyes and melts my heart a little. Her biggest downfall as a jogging partner is that if the run is shorter than two miles, she dawdles going home.
She suddenly will become very interested in every little scent that crosses her path, and wags her tail at every passerby in the hopes that we can stop to say hi and prolong the walk a bit. I know that she’s dawdling because if it’s hot out, or longer than two miles, she’s ready to go home. She leads the charge through the final stretch.
So that’s been April. A month of early mornings, not working, gardening, and dog jogging—when I’m not nursing Indy or changing his diapers or internally glowing at how all around adorable he is.
How has your April been?