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"This must be how the future comes."

Here, Spring starts throwing feints and false promises before Winter's half finished. She's seductive but fickle, tempting with taunting tastes, windows open one day, biting breezes the next. Snow seems perpetually forecast but bypasses us for adjacent higher altitudes where she loads up the late season snowpack, destined to flood away almost uselessly. She's already loaded up the creek through town once this month and seems determined to load it up again before the Vernal Equinox arrives.

I brought the wrong clothes this trip, anticipating full Springtime by now, that I'd be painting in shirtsleeves outside.
Instead, my unpainted boards stand in forlorn stacks on the covered front porch, awaiting a more lasting shift in the weather. The Muse says it'll come next week, a few rainless days where the temperature finally holds above forty overnight and my down vest might get to hang on the coat hook through an entire day. February, here usually more spring-like than winter-like, has baffled the apricot and tree peonies, even the roses have been holding tender sprouts through successive chilling snaps. No damage evident, fortunately, though every fifty years or so, this valley suffers a killing late season freeze that destroys orchards and vineyards. It could happen this year, but probably won't.

The Muse and I figured we'd be here for seven weeks before heading back to Colorado. Any way we measure the passage of time, we're more than halfway through the visit. We've made February-like progress, with feints, false promises, unanticipated discoveries, and unintended consequences, most, surprisingly, weighing in on the good side of the scale. We, like February, subscribe to the Measure Twice, Cut Once school of remodeling, spending altogether too much time carefully preparing the bones on the faith that the flesh will quickly follow. Our progress has been unimaginably non-linear. My memory cannot even muster a half-decent recollection of all we've done, all I've done.

Later, when we once again experience idle time, we'll wonder where all this time went. My dark and early mornings have already become less dark than they were a mere month ago, and the late afternoons melt effortlessly into early evenings and another deep, dark night. We are clearly obsessed, not exactly unfriendly, but clearly unsocial. We have not visited dear friends or gone out for any nights on the town this trip, spending even Saturdays and Sundays working or prepping for the following week's work. We understand, I guess, in the same way that February somehow understands, that the opportunity to create this particular future will not last and must not be wasted in sociable pursuits. What seems damned fickle to any passive observer might nonetheless constitute a necessary form of engagement.

We are not here to accomplish anything but our future, which seems tenaciously uncertain and still far, far away. Our heads aren't in the scudding clouds hurrying overhead, but somewhere forward from here, maybe Tomorrowland. When May finally arrives, nobody will think to thank February and her feints and false promises. Who will remember the steadfast apricot and tree peonies, let alone the rose bushes, who sent out their shoots into the middle of Winter yet still somehow survived into Spring? It was Winter then, no matter how much anyone tried to will that hesitant season into premature manifestation. Tulips stretch from frozen ground, fooled again this year, just like last. The snow, when it comes back to herald the arrival of March, will warm their bed before melting into the merest rumor of a memory.

This must be how the future comes.

©2018 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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