Lake Michigan’s water is still cold from the tap today, an advantage of Chicago’s sudden eighty degree days in March instead of highs in the forties or so low it could snow. I’m wearing a sundress, feeling clueless and ungrateful because my mind hasn’t quite wrapped around this yet. I can’t help wondering if I’ll have to turn the furnace back on before summer weather takes hold. Warmth in early spring is something Chicagoans mostly dream about. I remembered to say thank you last week once my initial brain fog had cleared, but my body still feels confused.
This warmth feels like a small blessing bestowed from somewhere, somehow. It disturbs my sleep, but it helps me in ways that have become as urgent as the ability to recharge. Perhaps there will be enough pennies saved to pay a bill if my house of cards blows out of reach. I am amazed that I’ve been able to avoid my shapeless winter coat this month, that my dry, dry skin is softening again, that Kitty gets to nap on window sills and feel the breeze ruffle her fur.
Yesterday, when I was out to vote, walking seven blocks to the nearest grocery store afterward, I noticed a strange smell. It was unpleasant in a pungent, organic sort of way, wafting around the residential blocks of my neighborhood, making me look around for something I couldn’t identify. I realized the smell had been coming through my windows for the past couple of days in bursts that made me stare at Kitty and ask if she was all right. She’d been staring back at me, sometimes looking blank, other times with an indignant stare of her own.
Halfway to the store, it occurred to me that it was manure. I couldn’t make it out on the lawns, but as I walked the smell reminded me of springtime when I was a child. It didn’t bother me as much once I’d figured it out. It felt good to think that neighbors were using a truly natural substance known for many years to deliver results, instead of chemicals that aren’t good for any of us. I said another thank you before I attempted to focus on another aspect of spring.
I thought about all the colors soon to bloom.