61 DEGREES OF INSTANT REBIRTH

It came as promised…..61 warm degrees and perfectly blue sunny skies today after a cold, cold winter. BOOM overnight, the warm temps came, melting the snow away like a hair-dryer would melt ice cubes on the counter.

The birds have been in full-spring mode for some time but humans in my area came alive today. So did I.

Like a fat caterpillar, I went to seasonal sleep last fall, getting less and less sunshine to absorb and less and less natural warmth to lubricate the spirit. Little by little, we move into a cocoon of artificial comforts; heating systems in the car, home, office, thick cloths and sweaters that hide our physiques from others and ourselves. Any venture outside is considered and planned, so as to avoid the cold…errands are consolidated and driving through blinding snow takes an arduous toll on the energy and time one has. It is work to maintain one’s balance that is essential to happiness.

I have done that work and today I am glad I made it through. Four belt notches smaller from eating right and training regularly have taken four notches off my stress level, too. Balance is so hard to find and harder to maintain. It is work, but work well-worth making a priority.

But today, for the first time since last fall, the temperature inside my car was hot from the sun through the windows as I jumped in coatless wearing only a fleece sweatshirt and blue jeans to get to the gym. The black leather seats heated on my back, butt and quads from pure sunshine instead of a seat heater. My air conditioning came on to cool the car when it started.

The sunroof opened and on the way down the two-lane scenic drive to the freeway, my hands flew on the 60 mph currents streaming just over my rear view mirror. A little finger lift and up the hand goes, now working like the wing of an airplane. A little move downward and it dips as far as I let it, in an uncontrollable dip forced by warm air. Up, down, up down and then just there….just there, outside while the ears absorb the sounds of cars whizzing by — whhhiiiissh…..whhhiiiisssh, and the occasional sound of splashing of water from tires moving through wet portions of road created by runoff water from the hills. On the side, a river of runoff flows from a hill, down into a collection point……A river. All have been frozen for so long.

Suddenly, an adrenalin forgotten. Like a sexual feeling or attraction, the rush of endorphins hits the winter slumberers all at the same time. We are all smiling, mellow and waking up, like we all just had coffee together and now we’re chatting about things in a fun and provocative way.

Young lads carry skateboards!! Yes, there they go, out for the first time in ages — mom and dad glad they are finally able to get out of the house and away from Nintendo and GameBoy. On the way back, dogs are in cages for adoption at the pet store I needed to visit. They are warm, beautiful, loving, and happy that there are many people on this day who are taken by the innocent, beautiful promise of unconditional love by one of our fellow tenants of this spec of the universe. But they seem sad, too, knowing that it is not a certain fate to be brought home by a loving young boy or girl.

They know their fate is tenuous and for that I am very sad I cannot take one or more home. Inside a grey cockatiel sleeps as I approach his cage. Later, as I carry the scratching posts our cats need me to purchase, the feathered creature awakes. He responds to my kisses and rubbing of index finger and thumb just outside his cage. Completely trusting, he lowers his handsome head with red circles and yellow crest on top to be lovingly rubbed and scratched. He works his small ears to the fingers and rubs it against my skin. Lovingly, he pecks lightly at my fingers, his way of giving me a kiss and asking for more. All of this is natural, untrained behavior by him.

Soon, there will be yardwork to engage in. The mountain bikes will come out of the garage and I’ll hit the trails near my home in the sticks. It will all become so common-place, so taken for granted. Hot nights will require air conditioning, lots of water.

And this moment of perfect rebirth will be forgotten, only to come around again some other time, God willing.

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