The yellow rose in the backyard is beginning to bloom. In January. It is a tight bud, its fragile petals folded over each other, its leaves a deep green with serrated edges; much changed from the end of summer when the leaves were marred by ragged holes and looked like something was chewing on them. Even though I sprayed with an in insecticidal soap, the rose deteriorated. Now it seems to have revived itself; fought off its enemy.
The begonia plant is coming back too. All the begonias – the one that was here when we bought the house and the begonias I planted – froze in November’s cold snap. The oldest, the original begonia, survived. It has always looked the healthiest, the fullest, the greenest. The weather has encouraged this growth: 30s in the early morning rising to 60s and 70s, weekly rain. This morning the patio was wet as trees shook off last night’s veil of moisture in a shower of drops.
Today is sunny and warm. I stand in the pastures at Scattered Oaks holding Willis’ lead rope as he grazes on new grass. He is filthy, transformed by black dirt into a charcoal grey horse. Ridden earlier today, his rider hosed him down after the lesson and Willis rolled. Now I get to clean him up again, a job that would be easier after Willis is completely dry. But I volunteered his services and Willis had a good workout, so I’m grateful for his extra conditioning and training. My job now is to let him graze and have a nice trail ride wherever he wants to go so I don’t feel like I came out here for nothing. Spending time with your horse is never a waste of time. Pat Parelli said something like that; the way he described it was “undemanding time.” I like taking care of Willis almost as much as I like riding, and I know from experience that I loved my animals more when they needed care.
This day is beautiful. Sunny, warm, and all I want to do is be outside. Daisy and I drive to the park in Manor to look for birds. On our way, a pig – a pig! – runs across the road and under the park fence. Probably escaped from someone’s property. There is something I love about this park. I love its energy. The quiet, the simplicity, families just enjoying the days. The trees look like winter; bare branches reaching upward, silhouettes outlined against the sun, Yet the warmth of the day warns of something else. A change in the way this season of winter feels.