Moral of the story

It’s finally warm enough outside that opening the windows is a pleasure. On the lap of the breeze, a trio arrive, fine gossamer against the window pane: light, warmth, and some third thing only circulating air can generate. Brio, maybe. There are three weeks between my birthday and my brother’s and, in that interim time, cool, blue spring becomes honeyed, temperate spring. Dogs nose at the ground. Insects return to their kingdom. I try to extract the big plastic box of summer clothing from the closet and clumsily tip over onto the bed in the process. In that pool of sheets, warmed by rays of light from the westerly path of the sun, I feel a bit like Thumbelina, aimless but not altogether lost, in her green-amber nest of barley.

I am deep in the contractual weeds with a possible new employer. While we trade emails across the ocean, I continue to spend the days freely. I try not to think about the cost of each labor hour in terms of lost salary. I try not to engage in hypotheticals or counterfactuals or any other instruments of speculation. Instead, I do my best to think of these developments with as much neutrality as possible. My life was not a bad life when I was gainfully employed. It was nevertheless the right choice to leave when I left. This sabbatical is not entirely stress-free. It is nevertheless a treasure, a pearl of time that is mine to use as I wish. I repeat these things like a prayer until they stick not on my skin, not on my soul, but some third surface in between.

I read. I don’t read. I write. I don’t write. Right, wrong, and some third thing. When the wind whistles through with the windows open, Strawberry’s windchime—a forest-green bell of cast iron, with a cerulean-blue tongue—cries out in a single clear note, and spring, invisible, blurry, inchoate, comes to distinctive, blushing life, signaling the true end of the frost. How easily noise filters into sound when we tune our ear in its favor.

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