On the Cusp

It always hits me like a gentle surprise – I’ll be taking a walk, early March, some icy patches on a road lined with gritty mounds that beg to be called something other than snow – when I hear them, those first birds of spring. Their singing stops me in my tracks.

I stare out my kitchen window, a cup of coffee in my hand, a bird making a trampoline of a tree branch. A robin who, like all robins, can simply do no wrong.  A sound – rat-tat-tat – turns my attention from the red breast to the red head needling its way up the bark of a tree.

Yesterday there was frost on the car in the morning. This morning a light, steady rain that continues to wash away the snow.  By late afternoon the rain gives way to sun. I go out on my deck, more birds by the day it seems, chirping and cooing, heard if not seen. A goose honks, a crow caws.  Any night now I’ll open the door to the delightful, mystifying sound of peepers, the anticipation still no match for the way it creeps up on me, another gentle surprise.

Sometimes I think I live for music as much as I live for writing. Rock, classical, jazz  it all depends on my mood, where I am, who I’m with. I love making playlists for my iPod, burning them to CDs for friends. It’s a gift that keeps on giving.

Sometimes I think it’s my love of music that gets me going to the gym, raising my heart rate to some healthy purpose. I like the Elliptical cardio machines, a motion that feels like gliding. If someone has left on the TV monitor, I turn it off, tune out the world of news and sports and cooking shows and whatever. To anyone glancing my way I’m just another workout junkie in leggings and a tee-shirt, plugged in to my Nano. No one knows I’m dancing.

Today the sun is shining, there’s an on-the-cusp of winter/spring chill in the air. I’m tempted to go to the gym, but after an especially cold, snowy winter that gave me even greater respect for bears, I opt for putting aside the headphones, going for walk, opening my ears to all the music I could want.