The eternal winter is finally ending. I believed it would of course, since it’s my 27th winter/spring relationship, but this time I started forming doubts. How is it that I’ve lived in Utah for the majority of my life, and yet it felt like this was my first real winter? It could be since this is the first winter I have a toddler— the first winter I’m a mom, really, since we lived in Arizona last year. Either way, it is starting to warm up and more than the snow is beginning to thaw if you catch my drift. (Two snow puns in one sentence!)
All winter we would stare out the window and point out the deer to Claire. “Deah, Deah,” she says, like a British girl. It’s the only animal whose name she can say. The rest are all the sounds. We ask her what a dog says and she says “woof woof.” Cat is this sort of “me no me no yup yup yup." Elephant’s blow, and fishes make kissy faces and monkeys say “ooh ooh ah”, but I didn’t know what dear say, so it’s “deah.”
Of course, deer don’t really make sounds, do they? They slake along in the grass, one minute absent and the next they’re there. Sort of like the sidler on Seinfeld. We’ve stared at the deah so many times that she’s started calling our bluff when we say we see them in an attempt to calm her down.
Every day we take long walks— multiple long walks, and no matter how much patience I try to have or how long I let her go, she ends up having a breakdown when we have to come inside.
We wander all over the place, going much farther than I ever plan, looking at the rocks, which she picks up in collections, handing them to me for safe keeping, and side-eyeing me to make sure I don’t toss them in the bushes which I do eventually but she doesn’t miss them. We sit on the grass, petting it like a dog, pulling out the loose clumps and forming a pile. “The grass is green,” I say to her. We lay on our backs and look at the sky, the bright blue sky that seems like a softer blue here than anywhere else I know. We walk along the river my dad and Kevin made, and she gets dangerously close, but knows not to get in the “wah-wah” because it’s “Coldy cold.”
There is mud to scrape up with her fingernails, which she later thrusts into my hands, wanting to hold. There are birds she chases like they are holy messengers, watching until they disappear with grace. There are rocks to perch on, just for a moment, before scampering off to discover something else that is fresh and wholly thrilling, the way everything is to her.
It is the first real spring of her life.
It is the first spring of mine.