The temperature hovered above freezing today, enough to make what would have been more snow be rain instead. The nubbly nap of the snow carpet is wearing away. It's sinking slowly down below the surface, filling the water table, although as I drove through the fields, it often appears as if it's the earth RISING through the patches of snow. Flat-bottomed clouds cruise the horizon. Relaxing on my sofa after work, I lie and stare at the red gabled side of the farmhouse behind us, watching the bedraggled ducks lift and shake their wet wings, trolling their beaked heads back and forth as they step in slow motion through the mud. 2 of the horses impatiently shake water from their manes, their purple horse blankets steam. A trio of male ringneck pheasants (the 3 stooges, I presume, since pheasants are so dumb) mince along the top of the ditch along the fence, their colors muted, their spiky tailfeathers sticking out stiff and ridiculous behind them. They're mighty fat, those 3 feathered gentlemen. Scoping for chicks. Hen-cruising.
A few days ago, as I turned onto the main road that runs from the highway to Flyinge, just past the Ramel estate, a cock pheasant shot into the air from the hill to my left and soared over the car. His tail feathers were stretched out, banners in the wake of his passage, his heavy belly hung below his frantically flapping wings. Despite his best efforts, he couldn't lift much higher and just missing the car, soared to a clumsy halt on the other side. That wasn't flying, I thought in my best Sheriff Woody drawl, that was falling with style.
You know what I'm going to miss? The bodies of my children. I already miss their baby toes. They smell so clean, like peaches, and their skin is so golden and rosy and plump with health, tiny golden hairs glinting in the sunlight. Karin's baby potbelly pooching out like a mini-basketball, the curve of Martin's cheek and the length of his eyelashes. The fat, flat lobes of their little ears. That one little freckle on the side of her foot, the inward jink of his pinky fingers. Soon enough, I'm sure, they'll be too old to let me so close, to hug and nestle and wrestle. They'll grow up, grow private, turn inward and away, become teenagers. For now, though, I can still hold them, a heavy weight pressing on my lap, twined arms around my neck, those tiny white leaf-teeth shining in wobbly rows inside those electric kid smiles.
*Earworm from Hell. Sorry.