Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Well, not quite. But the snow is retreating, millimeter by millimeter, and in its wake, survivors of a white and terrible tide, lie two ballpoint pens, three cigarette butts, a shovel, two bubble wands, a Marsh Fresh Idea card, a silver flour canister, half of an SUV's bumper, a tripod grill, and the kind of HP card that documents the particulars of the overpriced printer ink to which you are evermore in thrall.

Oh, spring.

Spring is for wanting. Sometime in March you begin, provided you are not a Buddhist, to experience the resurgence of desire. I don't mean those everyday wants: more sleep, a chalupa, a printer that is not a vampiric ink-sucking desktop devil-child.

I mean the kind of wholehearted yearnings that overtake you, almost overturn you, a bone-deep coveting the shape of which you've only just realized has gone missing from your flesh.

Maybe you want love. Maybe you want children. These are not outlandish desires. You see a couple picking their way hand in hand across the last encrustations of ice, a fat toddler busy in the newly exposed dirt. Your stomach knots. Your throat closes, then slowly, like a crocus, unfists.

Me, I want old women and cats. On my afternoon constitutional (I love this word, which smacks of colonels and canes), I spotted two of the former and three of the latter.

The old women were moving slowly -the sidewalks are not quite clear- turning the corner from a side street onto a busier one, chatting desultorily. I've seen them before; they walk regularly in my neighborhood, always the same route, or nearly. They always smile and say hi.

I've seen the cats before too; I am a great chronicler of cats. This is so I can ambush various of them near their homes and crouch down, holding out my hand and chirping like an idiot in the hopes that the braver ones will let me scratch their bellies. I get cat hair on my mittens and a sloppy, shameful grin on my face. Oh, cats.

I've seen them before, but I didn't want them -gut-deep, headlong- until spring. I want a cat in the window beside me. I want an old woman to walk with me when I'm an old woman, too.


Ellie said...

I want that, too. Sometimes, I want to be old, and have everything settled. To have lived my life, and know how it has turned out.

I'd walk with you.

wombat said...

I, too, will walk with you when we're old. And I'll have cats.