Sunday, March 25, 2007

First Saturday in Spring

Yesterday was a very nice day. Nothing special happened, but all in all it was one of those quiet days that was just nice all around. I got up, had a nice leisurely wakeup and after the requisite caffeine dose, I headed off to the gym to get on the stairclimber (my favorite) to try and burn some of the extra flab that I have acquired off of my mid section. I stopped at Marshall's on the walk home for a quick look around and found 2 xist t-shirts on sale, 3 pack, black, v-neck for 12.99. It may be a purely emotional attraction, these t-shirts, but I like the hand of the material, the weight and the texture. I do know that they wear better than other brands I have tried and I like the fit. My propinquitous purchase in hand I proceeded down the street where I ran into an old friend that I have not seen for months.

Jerry is always fun to talk to. I first met him and his late lover Frank when I moved to Boston at the age of 20. Jerry was in his 40's then. At the time I was slightly appalled at being hit on my a middle aged man, who to a 20 year old seemed so ancient. Now that he has moved on to being a septuagenarian with a healthy interest in fooling around, he is more like a beacon of hope. He has turned into a wonderfully twinkly eyed, dirty old man, who makes no bones about his continued interest in getting laid. We spent time catching up and chatted about inconsequentials as we checked out the local talent that was parading past in the warm spring day. Friends were discussed, handsome men were admired, the changes in the city were reviewed and the charms and shortcomings of life in the world were examined.

But the day beckoned and it was time to move on. Walking past the park, I decided that I had indulged in sloth long enough. I changed my clothes and went off to my garden. 5 wheelbarrows full of fallen leaves and branches later, my garden was starting to once again assume more the aspect of a garden and less that of a neglected garbage tip. My vibernum is promising to bloom profusely this spring, the little grey bud clusters on the tips of every branch, the heady, spicy scent of the flowers mere weeks away. My syringa arnoldia has leaf buds that are quickening to green, though I hold out scant hope for much of a display from that, due to the warmth of the winter. Lilacs need a cold winter to bloom. The dried seed heads on the echinachea and rudibeckia that were left out in the fall for the birds were cut down. The raking revealed the sprouts of spring bulbs, the fleshy leaves in greens and purples twisting out of the ground. Already the red tips of peonies are peeking up, the sedum are starting to come out, the clusters of leaves like tiny chicks huddling in a nest. Oriental poppies are sending out hairy leaves, and the purpley green leaves of columbine are unfurling. Portents. Spring is indeed arriving. More friends were spoken to. Fellow gardeners emerging from hibernation, seasonal friends that disappear under the snow are also starting to crawl out into the promise of sun and warmth.

Soon enough it was time to head back home and wash up and eat some lunch. Looking at the time I realized the Met broadcast was about to begin, so with a plate in my lap I tuned in. Il Barbiere di Siviglia was on and having heard any number of Barber's I thought it would be a good accompaniment to doing some light cleaning. Not so. With the first few bars of the Overture, I knew I was in for something special. The music was so fresh and energetic it was like hearing it for the first time. Juan Diego Florez, Peter Mathei and Joyce DiDonata and the orchestra infused the music with an energy, humor and enthusiasm that left me first sitting on the sofa, then lying in the middle of the living room floor listening, as I have not listened to this chestnut in ages. I have heard that there were criticisms about the production itself, but anyone who was unmoved by the singing and playing should really turn in their card. I for the first time in a while really wished that I had been in the audience, and felt truly grateful for the Met broadcasts.

After 3 hours of opera heaven, I came back to earth and attended to more mundane pursuits, like grocery shopping and laundry. The niece had called while I was in the garden to make plans to go to my brothers for Easter and I had to consult the internet to find out which Sunday this was. The day wound down in a pleasant way, and by the time bedtime arrived, I was feeling contented and ready for sleep. It was an unremarkable day, and yet remarkable in it's peace and the hidden and unexpected beauties that popped up unbidden and after a long winter made good the pact with nature that spring was fulfilling its promise. Life will get back to its normal pace, filled with aggravations and irritants but it is nice to be reminded that sometimes in very simple ways it can be sweet.