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Christmas in April

I watch the big truck backing towards me, standing under the red tips in our back yard, trying to ignore the disturbing scent of its flowers. Like Christmas in April, black magic spills off the end of the truck, filling the air with earthy musk. Mulch is a wonderful thing! Like furniture polish or a coat of fresh paint, it hides all sins and makes everything sparkling new.

A few wheelbarrow loads later, one bed done and one halfway beautified, I think, just one more, and my back groans. I’m in a race with time to get the mulch deployed as quickly as possible. If I’m quick about it, the weeds won’t get the upper hand and the summer will be easy. This is the time of year for pushing through, mind over matter. It’s the season of ibuprofen, liniment, and extra yoga.

I see why the tourists who stayed with us in Belize and Nicaragua said they couldn’t live there because they had to have their seasons. At the time, we didn’t get it. Bob and I chewed on it a lot and decided they were only talking about one season, spring. We figured they loved spring because it followed winter, that abysmal stretch of cold, dead months so familiar to northerners. Now, after the winter we just had, I see their point.

I have to admit, spring in North Carolina is glorious. It’s sleeping with the windows open time. Everything’s coming to life in the yard, peonies popping. Birds going ape shit, singing their hearts out. Especially the whacked out mocking birds, who evidently are the last to find mates and settle down. If they would just shut up for a few minutes, or at least stop repeating themselves and pretend to listen, the she-birds would flock to their sides.

But every penny has its backside, and the downside of spring is this: my writing life takes a huge hit. Spring is a gut punch to anything desk-related.

I did sit at my desk the other day long enough to put together my summer schedule. In an effort to encourage myself to write without adding undue pressure, I changed the word “write” to “Create!” If this doesn’t get my creative juices flowing, nothing will, I thought. Less than a week later, I pitched that schedule out the window.

I had the whole day to myself on Thursday, no social commitments, and could have spent hours crafting some great piece of writing. As it turned out I spent most of the day working outside. We had a long, crappy winter, and now I can finally get outside and pretty up the place. That $165 load of mulch is going to keep me happy for weeks.

After two (or four) wheelbarrow loads, I come inside, fish a couple of stray pieces of bark from my tank top, and wash my hair. I dry it with a clean, sun-kissed towel I just pulled off the line along with our pillows and bed sheets. It’s burrito night, and we are halfway through a good movie. Clean hair, towel, and sheets. I’ve hit the simple pleasure trifecta. Christmas in April, spring is the best!

By Camille Armantrout

Camille lives with her soul mate Bob in the back woods of central North Carolina where she hikes, gardens, cooks, and writes.

One reply on “Christmas in April”

That’s great…I like mulch, too. I also liked when the rock got delivered for the driveway and spread all of that out. Something about covering up the old…like painting over 80’s wallpaper.

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