Tuesday, April 22, 2008

(Almost) the lusty month of May

People here seem to feel it's been a long, cold, lonely winter. I'm tired mostly of bundling up, the constraint of heavy clothes and a coat, and still feeling cold when walking about at night. Until this week, a few moments that felt like spring yielded to more winter wind and cold.

Inevitable every year, spring is being persistent, manifesting itself through manmade and natural signs.

Pregnant women. Years ago someone pointed out to me that, in spring, the world is full of pregnant women. Until then, I had not thought much about this, but, judging by the number of protruding bellies I've seen in the past few weeks the long, cold, lonely winter was not all that lonely for many.

Garden kitsch. In the seasonal products aisle of Walgreens, a frog chirped as I walked by. After every fourth chirp (two sets of two chirps apiece), his mutant pink tongue rolled out enticingly (or threateningly). As mankind displaces wildlife like frogs, the unspoken answer seems to be to replace the live creatures with mechanical plastic replicas.

Little brown jobs. While walking through The Flamingo garden, I startled what birders know as a little brown job (LBJ). Just as I realized that it was not one of the ubiquitous European house sparrows but one of the many interesting migrants of the Central Flyway, it flew off. Nuts.

Love is in the air. In J.'s neighbor's back yard, a male grackle fanned his tail seductively and performed a rudimentary dance that clearly said, "Look at me! Look at me! Aren't I handsome?" The female must have been duly impressed because an activity ensued that was definitely not suitable for children or more sensitive viewers. I don't know about bees, but this pair explained why birds were singled out as an example.

The Flamingo pool. The cover has been removed, the winter meltwater drained, and the muck mopped out. Painting should be next. The pink-and-white deck chairs are piled up and waiting.

Come sail away. A few hardy sailors took their boats out Sunday, undoubtedly determined to pretend that it was a warm spring day, despite the chill and wind.

Garden goods. J. called me from a nursery; he is feeling the call of the perennials.

Puppet Bike. My favorite Chicago attraction is back on the street.

Insects and spiders. An insect parked itself on my window the other day for several hours, perhaps thinking it was a pickup joint. The spider brigade that uses my windows as a full-service hotel (with restaurant) has not reappeared, but Hodge and I do find individual members of the advance guard checking out the indoor comforts.

Increased workload. In the winter, when I dread bundling up and facing the cold and could put in extra time, my workload is lighter. The moment it's warm and light enough in the evenings to enjoy the outdoors, suddenly pent-up projects are found to keep me busy after hours.

That's all I can think of for now. I can't wait for the sighting of the first butterfly.

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