Sunday, March 25, 2012

The 3R's

Taxes and report cards done, last classes taught, last item in my little Memo book list crossed out and that lovely feeling of release. It’s Spring Break! Boarded a Friday night plane, back in my little monk’s cell by the window with my three sets of prayer beads— a Crostics puzzle, a novel (Ann Patchett’s State of Wonder—riveting!) and headphones for the perfect airplane movie—Tower Heist with Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy and others. From the airport past 2:00 am cherry blossoms around the Mall to my daughter’s house and awake the next morning to the squeals of granddaughter Zadie. Her four-month self quite different from the 5-week-old I held back in December and of course, more developed, more interesting, more responsive.

What a day we had! Not only did I get smiles, but I made her laugh and then she made me laugh as we spoke our mutually intelligible language of coos, gurgles, animal sounds. I sang to her more than I talked and danced with her and held her on my lap, watching her discover her toes and feel the fabric of my sweater and grab my finger and give it a taste and speak with her eyes and eyebrows, going through the lexicon of emotion in rapid-fire succession. We went to the local grocery store in her Rolls Royce stroller (quite different from the flimsy thing I remembered using with my children!), where she charmed some shoppers in the store who had the good sense to notice her.

We then picked up her Grandma at the airport (who had been to Michigan to visit her mother) and settled into our Air B&B, a whole floor to ourselves with a TV the size of my car. Now Sunday morning and the second day of rain, having just missed the 80-degree Friday. This seems to be happening all over (in Michigan, for example) and the delight people feel in Spring’s first warm days is tempered by the uncomfortable feeling that climate-change-wise, this can’t be a good sign. And maybe some guilt that they really haven’t earned the freshness of Spring because they haven’t paid their winter dues. The trees are beginning to leaf a month earlier than usual, the daffodils poked their heads-up to see what’s going on, but now it’s a bit cooler and the rains and grey skies make it feel at least a little bit wintry.

And so a week of Zadie-time, of walking with the tourist throngs amongst the cherries, of catching up on reading and rejuvenating after an intense (but satisfying) three months at school. Mid-week, we’ll take a trip to Jefferson’s Monticello in Charlottesville, maybe spend another day at Mt. Vernoon, perhaps escape into a museum if the rain keeps up. Vacation time. Align ourselves with the budding bushes and trees, the robins returning from the South, poke our heads up like the daffodils and get out of our indoor work mode. Enroll in the School of Spring with it’s 3R curriculum—Remember! Refresh! Rejuvenate!

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