Winter Into Spring

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.”

Lao Tzu

The East Hills

The East Hills

Last Saturday, a winter storm approached from eastern Oregon. Clouds clotted the sky and through the night needle-like flakes drifted and covered the roads. At dawn, moisture arrived from the west and stalled against the frigid air. Shoulder to shoulder, the weather wrestled above the forested valleys of Hood River, dropping wet feathers of snow long into the night.

By daybreak, the clash subsided. Rain and traffic denuded the sleet upon the city’s streets and ice lay crusted next to the curbs as I walked to a morning appointment at Dr. V’s, my chiropractor. I see him frequently for persistent back pain. The problem is not related to my cancer, multiple myeloma. My disease often leads to bone deterioration and crumbling spines, but this pain has its source in the soft tissue of muscle and my misspent youth.

Winter Into Spring

Winter Into Spring

It’s about two miles to the Doc’s office, downhill one way and up on the return. I wore rain gear and stashed a collapsible umbrella in my day pack. Occasionally, sunlight pierced the marbled sky and mist rose from the pavement and smoldered with the illusion of warmth. But scowls of cloud soon returned and frowned on everyone who ventured outside. Though the rain held back, I trod uncleared sidewalks beneath leafless trees bleeding moisture from the quarreling storms.

When I reached Oak Street, the scent of fresh baked pastry wafted uphill from the small cafes in town. I arrived early for my visit with Dr. V, damp and hungry.

Pine Street Bakery

Pine Street Bakery

The Doc and his wife run the clinic alone. Our friendship goes back many, many years and shares the vicissitudes of parenthood. We talked about the upcoming birth of my first grandchild, due on St. Patrick’s Day. My son and his wife chose to forego knowing beforehand the baby’s gender, opting instead to be surprised at the time of delivery. We laughed as I shared the dreams I’d had of the child being first a girl and then a boy.

Afterwards, when I stepped outside, a rain shower dimpled the puddles. I headed south, under the bloom of my umbrella. Atop the plateau of 12th Street, I entered the Pine Street Bakery. I nibbled and sipped and watched as walkers dodged the splash of passing cars. Rested and fed, I set out for home.

Looking Out

Looking Out

Along the way, a varied thrush squealed from its perch on a lilac bush and a fricassee of wild bird chatter simmered in the thickets. The mysteries and miracles of spring and my grandchild, still suspended in the deep sleep of their gestations, accompanied me on my walk through the rain into the future of what is known and the wonder at what is not.