This morning when I stepped outside I could smell it. Spring. Not full on fresh green shoots of life spring, but the first faint scent of life returning to the frozen wasteland. We have not seen the grass in our yard since November, and make no mistake, there’s still a half foot of snow and ice covering it. Assuming it’s still there.
But winter has lost its heart. Every day the temperature creeps a little further north of freezing before retreating back overnight. Everyday spring liberates another branch, another rooftop, another driveway of its icy cocoon. It won’t be long now.
The water runs down the icicles, and steams in rivulets down the gutters of the street. It pools in the low points, and carries with it all the salt, and grime of another winter. As long and brutal as a Minnesota winter can be, I cannot imagine a life without 4 seasons. Without the great cycle of seasons to mark the years time would blur into one long indistinguishable greyness. Is it any wonder that the word “season” means both cycle and spice?
Life requires movement. To stagnate is to die.
I’ve always been a dreamer. When you are 7 years younger than your nearest sibling you learn to cultivate your imagination at a young age. You also learn to sit quietly and absorb the world around you. When you are the youngest of four it’s easy to be a fly on the wall in the world of adults. So I soaked up as much of the adult world as I could, keeping my mouth shut and using my brain to figure things out. Sometimes it led me astray, like my foray in Black Velvet, but mostly it prepared me well for the vocabulary SAT. As I’ve said before, my 5th grade teacher Mrs. Maier commented that I had the vocabulary of a college student. Unfortunately, I still do.
When the kids in the neighborhood weren’t around it was no problem for me to find ways to entertain myself. I could build cities and roads in the gravel driveway for my matchbox cars, or fight prolonged battles through the jungles of the garden with my green plastic army men. I won so many football games, and scored so many winning touchdowns in the imaginary stadium in our backyard that I was elected to the imaginary football hall of fame by age eleven. Youngest inductee ever.
As I grew my imagination stayed the same, only my fantasies changed. Long bike rides in the countryside became epic flights on horseback pursued by Nazgul and Ringwraiths. Long rainy afternoons in school became heartbreaking stories of children held captive in concentration camps waiting for their chance to rise up against their oppressors. I slew more nuns than Robespierre. In my teens I suffered debilitating diseases, and died so many tragic deaths, that I broke the hearts of several thousand unrequited crushes. If only the poor girls had noticed me sooner.
So it should come as no surprise that when adulthood arrived I lived as many secret lives as Walter Mitty. Working on the road, and spending long hours alone driving cross country I daydreamed the miles away. I have lived a thousand lives in a thousand farmhouses, and small towns across America. Worked their fields, and walked their woods. Swam in the creeks, and sat on the porches on hundreds of summer evenings watching the sun descend into the golden fields like a ball of flame. I have spent quiet winter evenings by the warmth of fireplaces writing great works of fiction, and poetry so profound that it brought Hemingway to tears.
You may think these daydreams are escapist fantasies, and a retreat from reality, but I would propose that they are the very things that fuel my imagination and creativity. They are the flights of fancy that allow me to see life through Technicolor goggles. Only the reflection of reality in the mirrors of my daydreams allow me to see the world with clarity, and perspective.
Without make believe the real world loses all its flavoring. Is it really any wonder that I came back to blogging?
She moves quietly through the dark of the night, her bare feet hardly leaving a trace in the dewy lawn. A soft breeze stirs the leaves in the trees as if the night itself had exhaled. I roll over in my sleep warm bed. Something is missing.
Her long white dress flows behind her as she dances through the moonlight. She can hardly contain her laughter. I sit up with a start, and look about the room, but it’s as empty as ever. Laying my head upon the pillow, I see the moonbeams streaming through the open window and wonder how many more lonely nights there will be. I close my eyes, and try to find my way back into the dream.
Tiptoeing up the stairs, brushing her hair back from her face, she approaches the door. The knob turns slowly, and the door creaks upon its hinges. I open one eye and look across the bed in time to see her slip beneath the sheets. I cannot tell if I’m asleep or awake, but I no longer care. She has returned.
The switch is flipped, and the machine hums to life. A little dusty, but apparently still functional. Excuse me while I clear some of the cobwebs from the browser.
There, that’s better. Well dear interwebs, how have you been? It’s been a long time hasn’t it. I wonder if any of you are still there. The past year I’ve seen so many wonderful blogs go dark, that I have begun to question the death of blogging as a social media. I blame it on the book of faces, and twittering. Sure, I’ve done my share of both, and I see the attraction; Low commitment, low effort, similar results. But I need more. Yes, I really am that desperate for the attention of others. 140 character tweets, and banal postings about what I “like”, just don’t feed my insatiable ego the way that blogging does.
So I’m back.
I can’t say for sure how often I’ll write. Or even what I’ll write about. Yes, I have finally run out of ex-girlfriends to write wistful stories of teenage longing about. It had to happen eventually. Mostly I’m back because the book of Victorian Smut is off to my editor for its final edit. So I’ve got no more excuse for ignoring you dear interwebs.
Also I’m here to pimp my book. Eventually. Once I put it up on Amazon and storm the world with my marketing blitz and promotional tour that is. You knew there had to be a catch.