These are the ugly days.
Before the new season springs forth in delicate color and texture, the world looks like a frat house the day after.
The grass is patchy, brown and nubby, and with every step comes the possibility your sneaker treads will lose the battle with God’s good mud.
Whatever snow remains crouches in the shadows in gray-black crystallized fear of extinction.
The leaves that didn’t get raked up in the fall lie soaked and limp in piles like a bowl of day-old corn flakes abandoned in the kitchen sink.
The curbs try their best to corral the litter that skitters across the street. Plastic grocery bags shriveled up like withered balloons, cigarette butts and assorted bits of paper, plastic, and metal, smashed styrofoam cups and fast food wrappers along with receipts and torn paper bags shiver and tumble in the freshening breeze.
The yard is strewn with sticks, pine cones, sweet gum balls, unraked leaves and fugitive mulch, a few tools and toys that didn’t get picked up before the snow fell, and whatever litter jumped the curb and made a break for it.
It is good that the rain comes in spring. The world needs to be washed clean.
The other day I drove through MacDonald’s in the rain and fog and as the woman handed me my coffee, she said, “Have a great day. I know the weather’s kind of ugly but it’s better than snow, right?”
I laughed and said, “Sorry, I’m one of those guys who likes the snow better.”
“Not me!” she said with mock dismay before she wished me a good day again.
After the last snow, the world was gray but lovely. Clean. Frigid, but as harmonious as a well-made bed. God’s good earth was blanketed smooth, white, still, exquisite, pleasing.
I like those winter landscapes because they are so unlike my life, my mind, the inner me. My bed is all askew, covers and pillows tossed every which way, a downy debris pile of blankets and sheets. I am an unmade bed.
And I am the world in mud season, after the snow and before the blooms.
Litter blows in and through my life and mud cakes the treads of my sneakers.
I don’t see many signs of life yet, only a freshening wind that blows warmer, hopeful air.
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Photo by Vermont Historical Society at Flickr. Creative Commons License