2016 has been so far of two minds: Roaring with change, but at the same time peaceful in the stasis of a winter that never really came and went, but just hung there in the distance like a mild suggestion which someone waved off over and over.
Now that spring is here and the flowers are starting, those two natures do not seem entirely opposed. During these two months of seeming calm, much has transpired for the better.
We have doors upstairs for the first time, as well as a coat closet and new kitchen shelves downstairs. The little improvements, we keep remarking to one another, have changed our lives more in the every day than any of the “big works” did in the first two phases of renovations. Suddenly things feel organized. We even have hooks on which to hang our keys.
I got eyeglasses for the first time, and Isaac got a haircut, so we can both see again.
The Volvo was permanently retired with great mourning and a few long unplanned walks on country highways in the fog, so we are shopping for a new car or cars.
And Magenta, the lonely last survivor of our massacred Hollandaises, moved on to another poulailler full of her own kind last night, up on the south ridge with a young family who adore her.
M started his new job in town a few weeks ago and is in metamorphosis as fully as the landscape bursting into bloom, packing for China and America, and watching the election cycle at all hours, which this year has provided the very finest entertainment.
In our middle age we are finding certain recent technological upgrades problematic, but we are persevering nevertheless. We can only imagine that maintaining suppleness in this realm will be one of the most arduous parts of growing old in our era. We might as well get started.
We are finally going wireless and routed, upgraded and networked. Lots of swipes and unintuitive minimalist displays without so much as an arrow or dot to indicate “click here.” Those coddlings are long gone. It’s a tactile experiment nowadays, fumbling forward toward a blank console, trying to coax it into a desirable response with various cajoles and fingering. “Is it a console or just the plastic case? Is the damn thing even turned on?,” we mumble aloud, like overgrown toddlers wondering what the box does – and oops, how do we back up from here.
We don’t much care for one powerful new cell phone but we are looking forward to befriending the other one soon, if only because it is even more intimidating and we want it on our side. We are amazed that the likes of us can run the entire house from a handset so easily.
We enjoy the wedding website and like to think that we have contributed mightily to their support staff’s job training across all departments. Call us helpers. A few of them we already feel so close to as to put on the invite list – is this mobius-strip style marketing, a perpetual-motion machine?
And we love the new speaker system, which fills the rooms with joyful vibrations from such tiny little boxes.
I have finally this new year also memorized once and for all what the semiotic circle and stick mean on power buttons. My mnemonic device is rather sexist: The circle means zero, or off, or down, or wide open and idle. And the stick… Well, at least it’s settled. Life should get easier from here in at least that one way.
It will surely freeze again at some point, for only the third time this winter. We hope it will, anyway, for the health of the plants and the detriment of the insects.
But drops in temperature or not, the winter feels over. Plums and daffodils are popping out everywhere, and we are already behind in the garden, which is as it should be, lurching forward in the renovations toward the big party this fall.
Welcome, early spring.