Wednesday, March 2, 2016
In like a lamb
The days grow longer and the sun shines, shines, shines. It isn't winter and it isn't spring. This is March in the high desert, a time when the nights are cold and clear, the sun is strong and warm, the wind whistles and howls, and you might feel grit in your teeth. There are dust devils in the arroyo, little tornadoes made of leaves and debris, skating lightly along the concrete, exploding when they hit the arroyo's sloping walls. If you listen carefully, you can hear them as they tumble - skittering, scraping, blowing apart and away.
We spend the afternoons in and out of the house, books and bikes and scooters, yarn and hooks, tea cups, water bottles and string cheese carried back and forth across the yard, looking for the warmest spots for ourselves. It's still chilly in the shade; it must be twenty degrees cooler in the house's shadow than it is in full sun just five feet away. Inside, when I've had enough of the nomad routine and the sun on my face, I stitch, or read, or watch from the window as children and chickens play. I go out again to settle a dispute, or to help round up hens. I go back in to start dinner, choosing relatively languorous recipes these days; I want to be outside just as much as they do.
In and out all afternoon, as the sun moves across the front of the house and the shadows spread over the depth of the backyard, darkening dormant grass. They come inside for jackets and go right back out again. Their play moves toward the back of the backyard, where there is still some sun. I watch amusedly as they move right up to the wall, their small backs held flat against the cinder blocks, soaking up the last hint of warmth through their clothes.