The View from Mattie’s Pillow

Still waiting for green, though the air is warm again after a few chilly days and a freak hailstorm on Thursday.   Today, a Chinook wind blew in sixty-degree weather or, at least, the mid to high fifties.   In the sun, it felt like summer though the ground is still frozen just beneath the surface and we still have half a yard full of snow.  Out on the Tanana, a lead is opening up, dark and sleek in the punchy white ice.  Nothing moving yet, just the ever-widening black patch of water.  The willows are fluffing out their catkins, pussywillows.  I think of cutting some sticks of willow for the living room, but, when I think about doing that, I’m usually on the way from one thing to another—back to the house to get the Cowboy Magic for Sam’s tail or off to the greenhouse for more four-inch pots, as I am just starting to transplant the first flat of seedlings.

Today, Trish came up to work with Sam again.  She lunged him after we took another bushel of hair out of his coat, then we brought him over to Mattie’s side of the corral—the larger flatter side that doubles as a small arena—and got out the saddle.  Sam is a professional horse.  I often think he may have been a circus horse.  He stood stock-still in the morning sun while we fussed with him.  Finally, he was saddled and Trish got on.  She walked him around the corral, getting to know him.  He moved willingly, none of the usual feet planted stubbornness he used to exhibit back in the early days.  She seemed happy, and so did he.  It should be a good summer for Sam with three of us doting on him.

As for Mattie, it may be that some of our long-running issues are becoming resolved.  She’s trotting pretty reliably at the end of the longe line now, and stood for the saddle and for mounting today—her first ride of the spring.  We headed off around the corral and she trotted, leg yielded, trotted in small circles—in short, she remembered everything and it was gratifying.

There’s almost no ice left in the corral now and the sand drained quickly.  The yard is soggy and scattered with wood chips from the firewood chopping area.  The grass is flattened and brown.  We have chickadees and juncos at the bird feeder.   I’m listening for robins and thrushes in the woods and the rattle of a woodpecker.  We’re still a long way from greenup, but I have three flats of starts to transplant: tomatoes, eggplant, cucumbers, and delicata squash.  I took them out for an afternoon in the greenhouse, and managed to transplant some of the cucumbers today into three-inch pots.

I heard a report that a friend’s spouse, out cutting wood, saw the year’s first mosquito.

Tonight, around ten thirty, a sliver of moon hung low in the sky, fuzzy through a thin layer of cloud.  With night, the chill in the air returns, but the light lingers longer in the sky now and there’s a slatey light on everything.  We could still get snow, but all our restlessness calls out for true spring followed soon by summer.

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One Response to “The View from Mattie’s Pillow”

  1. Paul Greci Says:

    I saw that moon. And, I also saw a mosquito!!

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