by Jennifer on February 15, 2011


photo credit: boxercab on flickr

With a bit of effort, I nudge open the windows. It’s one of those days in February when the air feels more warm than cold, when the same 50 degrees that feels chilly in September feels downright tropical two thirds of the way into a long winter.

The sills hold tight to their seal the way a woman pulls her collar close around her throat against the wind. It’s the first time I’m opening most of the windows in our new house. Once or twice, the dining room window – the one that looks out over the backyard – was raised so that I could mediate an argument over snowballs and who threw them too hard and whether it was fair. Play is rarely just play, you know.

I open at least one window in every room and feel the house start to breathe. A breeze, the sigh of a spring not so far off, pirouettes through the rooms, and I am giddy with it. Especially as both kids have been sick for days, I’m eager to scrub the air clean of coughing and fever. Of all the closed up, housebound days of winter.

On the windowsill in the upstairs bathroom, I find a ladybug. It’s good luck, they say, and I fall for it without reserve. Who can afford to turn down a good omen? If you’re as lucky as that, well, I don’t think we’ve met.

It inches to the top of the window and I coax it into my palm. Then I push open the window and open wide my hand. The ladybug lifts off into the breeze and becomes part of the warm day that’s a promise more than anything. Spring isn’t here yet, but it will be.

Later, when the sun drops below the tops of the pines across the road, I close up the house against the chill of nightfall. After dark, I go outside to look at the moon. The wind has picked up and, like a broom, pushes moon-bright clouds across the shine of the moon and stars. As February days go, this one has put on its very best dress.

Later still, when we’ve all gone to bed, the cold wind hurls itself around the corners of the house, strong enough that the windows wince with the force of it. The day’s warm breeze has stepped aside. Winter still very much with us.

But then so is the scent of spring, closed up here in these rooms, as much a winter provision as the food staples in the cupboards or the snow shovel on the back porch.

And the ladybug? Who knows. Maybe tucked back safe again under a log until spring. Or blown far and wide, perhaps, to another windowsill where someone else who needs to believe in promise and good luck and spring will fall for it, just as I did.

As I always will.

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

alejna February 15, 2011 at 9:30 am

This was so beautiful. I can almost smell the spring now…

V-Grrrl @ Compost Studios February 15, 2011 at 9:34 am

This is why I need all four seasons in roughly equal measure–they awaken my heart and senses and help me benchmark my life.

And I was thinking the exact same thing about the temps, how 50 degrees in the fall sends us hunting for jackets but in February it makes us peel off layers and kick off the blankets.

Elizabeth Harper @ giftsofthejourney February 15, 2011 at 9:57 am

Love this piece … ladybugs, or ladybirds as they are called here are a favorite of mine and remind me of a dear friend who is no longer living. Hope your children are on the mend.

Coco February 15, 2011 at 10:52 am

As always…lovely and evocative.

flutter February 15, 2011 at 10:57 am

gorgeous, as always

Daryl February 15, 2011 at 11:45 am

It was a glorious day here yesterday too .. of course today its FREEZING and windy .. I wish I spied a ladybug .. I believe in them more than I do that silly ground hog.

Slow Panic February 15, 2011 at 11:57 am

never ever never never ever stop writing. ever.


tysdaddy February 15, 2011 at 1:27 pm

Yep. Just lovely, as others have mentioned.

So much of my life, as of late, is about living in each moment. Just being in every second. And you capture this mindfulness so well, my friend. Thank you . . .

Jane February 15, 2011 at 1:29 pm

Are you still writing songs? ‘Cause that’s what this seems to me to be…..

Emily February 15, 2011 at 1:41 pm

Amen. We all needed yesterday.

Heather February 15, 2011 at 8:19 pm

Simply lovely- thank you, Jennifer!

Landon February 15, 2011 at 10:16 pm

Such a joy to read your words.

green girl in wisconsin February 16, 2011 at 11:27 am

Keep cracking those windows and letting in the freshness!

JCK (Motherscribe) February 19, 2011 at 10:20 pm

There’s nothing much better than sipping a whiskey and reading my friend Jennifer’s writing. Beautiful as always. And a lady bug? Absolutely good luck!

Mrs.Mayhem February 20, 2011 at 2:28 pm

Your descriptions are amazing.

Suzanne March 1, 2011 at 1:43 am

You know, you posted an idea of a novel not too long after writing this….perhaps the first flicker of your good luck?!

anymommy March 15, 2011 at 4:41 pm

I could feel it – and we haven’t had even close to window opening weather here.

Tracey - JustAnotherMommyBlog March 20, 2011 at 8:28 pm

Lovely images… We’ve had beautiful spring weather these past few weeks. I haven’t seen any lady bugs but my past house must have been extremely lucky because it was infested with the little buggers. YUCK.


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