Ode to spring and the nesting syndrome
January 30, 2014
Spring lurks around the corner patiently waiting to burst forth into kaleidoscopic glory. Down here in Mexico, while daily temperatures peak in the perfection of the lower 80s and bougainvillea, weighty with color, drape over every upright structure, who can tell from spring! Not much to go by but a calendar.
If one has a calendar. When the New Year approached I could not find a new calendar. I’m an old hand at making do. My much-scribbled 2013 calendar is filling the gap. For example, January began on a Wednesday this year. I flipped through last year’s calendar to May, where the first of the month fell on Wednesday. I’ll conveniently flip the page to June to represent February but the months are muchly messed up thereafter.
In the sub-tropics, familiar clues to the approach of the magical season which unlocks the icy grip of winter are sadly lacking. (The icy grip of winter is also lacking, but that breaks my heart not one whit.) In mailboxes all over Montana, garden catalogs are showing up, luring Montana gardeners to order seeds and seedlings which never have and never will grow in our too hot, too cold, too wet, too dry country. But along with green beans and beets, we order the more exotic with all the faith of parishioners who perennially put their hopes in the “next-year” basket.
What is going on with me? I’ve been here three months, a notorious “red flag” time for those who’ve signed up for any major life change. I wanna go home. Oh, not permanently. I want a “Montana fix,” a shot of perhaps two weeks. Spring seems like a good time for a visit. I could migrate back with the robins.
My daughter tells me that since I obviously don’t have cabin fever, I must have spring fever. She says things like, “Get a grip, Mom.” She thinks it makes perfect sense that I want to migrate. “After all, Mom, you are a nester. Fixing up your nest has always been a priority for you. Concentrate on your nest where you are.”
It is true. I am a nester. This is the first time I’ve moved anywhere and did not immediately fix up my house to suit myself. The studio is temporary, I told myself. I’ll find a house in short order and let the fixing begin.
I’ve not yet found the house I want. I am re-thinking the whole house thing. This studio, which I found on my very first day in Mazatlan, is quite adequate, or would be if I finished unpacking the boxes that line the walls. Maybe my landlady will store some of the furniture. I already know what I want to have built.
Ouch! That reminds me of an embarrassing financial faux pas I nearly committed in the interest of feathering my yet-to-be-found nest. A woman I met on the street told me that a man who works for her told her that a woman down the way had a houseful of furniture she was selling at outrageously good prices and I should at least take a gander.
The very old Concordia style furniture (a style which has been made by craftsmen in Concordia, south of here, for hundreds of years) was just what I had in mind. When I went to see the furniture, I didn’t have money with me. But, after a few minutes of requisite haggling over the price, I said I’d take it. The woman on the street, the man who does jobs for her, the woman selling the furniture, all assured me I was getting a great bargain.
That night Common Sense dropped by for a chat. “You don’t have a house sweetie. What if that pile of furniture doesn’t suit the place you find, for find it you will. What about those two rocking chairs you dreamed of having made in Concordia?”
So I did what I should have done in the first place. I took Lupe to see the furniture. I knew instantly that I was in trouble. Lupe just shook his head. I backed out of the deal, glad to leave with a little dignity and no hard feelings. When the time comes, I’ll go to Concordia and order exactly what I want at half the money I nearly shelled out for old dry twigs and me with no nest in which to put them.
Spring is around the corner. The orioles on my back patio are exhibiting disgraceful behavior. I might or might not make that migratory journey north. Or I might finish unpacking boxes in the nest I’m in, temporary or not, and arrange to gather my own twigs.
(Sondra Ashton graduated from Harlem High School in 1963 and left for good. She found, upon her return, that things are a little different. Now, she's headed on a new journey. She has moved to Mexico. Keep in touch with her at http://montanatumbleweed.blogspot.com.)