I headed down this evening to my institute class, noting that warmer weather was already here – it was a little too warm for my taste, especially as I haven’t pulled out more than my teeshirts, sandals and a single pair of capris. You welcomed spring a few days ago with a fantastic thunderstorm that whipped through my wardrobe pretty quick, I had to change every time I came in from being with you.
While I was inside the meetinghouse expounding upon obscure verses of Isaiah, I heard the roaring lullaby of a lawn mower outside the window. The curtains were drawn, but I was still getting distracted by you. I thought you were beautiful in the autumn, but I realize that fall was just the opening band for your spring. Almost overnight the trees and saplings burst into bloom and daffodils sprang from the cold ground like golden trumpets welcoming the bumblebees back. You were silent in the wintertime, and it feels like your symphony has been awakened again.
Sometimes, when I can’t drift off to sleep and my roommates are already dreaming, I turn on my little lamp and bend the head down low before tiptoeing over to the window and opening it. I read for a while, listening to your mountain lullaby and amphibian symphony while my eyes blur together the lines of Robert Frost, James Joyce and Jane Austen. Even after I’ve closed the sash again, deep in the night, I can still hear you through the panes and I fall asleep dreaming of mountains and meadows and friends.
I was really excited because on Monday we had my English class outside. It was early in the afternoon, and none of us wanted to be cooped up on the third floor, trapped inside with a wall of windows to tempt us. We found a spot on the porch, all of us, and settled cross-legged for the next hour. I could tell the others felt it too, and I didn’t mind because we were all stretching and sighing with relief and pleasure as the sun streamed onto our skin. Dr. Cluff lined his books on a window ledge and paced gently back and forth as he spoke, and we talked of Chekov and Stegner and Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. I think he caught on quickly that my thoughts were being drawn to you – he smiled and held the novel in his hand a little higher.
I tried, I promise, to concentrate on the conversation, but I was distracted by the color of your mountains. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a blue like that. It made me tilt my head and smile and try to conjure a name for it. It was a lazy class, listening to you play with the flag and branches, watching you twine your way through the pansies and daffodils and give the evergreens a fright.
But back to tonight – I stepped outside the meetinghouse, and you hit me like a ton of bricks. I could smell the musky sweet perfume of freshly mown grass mixing with the scent of distant magnolias. The sky was a blue that deserves a fancier name – azure, maybe. It looked like you’d painted the clouds with your fingers, dragging them across the sky in indistinct patterns. I could see the moon – it reminded me of a faded pearl brooch holding the clouds in place like a scarf wrapped around a lady’s shoulders. I crossed the parkinglot, feeling like you’d wrapped yourself around me: I wasn’t too chilly, and the breeze played with my hair and tugged on the sleeves and hem of my shirt.
The best part was when I started up the hill and glanced over to the west – you’d lit up the spire of the chapel and thrown the trees into a deep silhouette. The sky looked like you’d swirled creamy clouds into watercolor paint, all soft shades of peach and blue and lavender. I could hear the trickling of water nearby, running over red rocks as it flowed down the hill.
I realized then why people grow up to be poets and photographers and country musicians. Because they’re trying to keep you from slipping through the fingers of memory, trying to keep that little piece of heaven-on-earth in their palms and catching your perfume in a little glass bottle to keep in their shirt pockets. I suppose we all do it – try to bring a part of you along. After eight months with you, I figure I’m doing it too. Trying to store you away to bring you home with me, to tuck you under my pillow for sweet dreams.
Thank you, though, for being beautiful. Sometimes you’re a little flamboyant about it, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love you that much more. You’re awesome, and I’m not-so-secretly in love with you.