Not much going on in the garden in February. The peonies are still frozen in their dead swoon over the edge of their bed, a row of understudy Juliets in workshop (does one cut back dead peonies? If so, when? I don’t know any of these things).
Nothing moves in the backyard, and I sit on the only step that’s wide enough to allow room between my knees and my belly.
Nothing moves, but the birds are carrying on their usual conversation in the woods behind our house. Not singing, exactly. Just a few notes here and there to maintain the illusion of good manners between them.
When I was little, I remember carrying piles of old sleeping bags and pillows across the crust of hard snow to a meadow behind our house and making a nest on the ground where I would sit, wrapped in blankets and always coatless, until I was too bored or cold to sit any longer.
I’ve done this as long as I can remember, really. There’s something about sitting outside, toasty in a depth of blankets, just being there while the world goes about it’s thing. I wasn’t able to do it for the last three winters because my only option then was a concrete slab facing the apartment parking lot, but I always miss the air, the smell of things, the sound of wind and birds, the stillness—especially in winter, when it’s been so long.
But I’m too pregnant to sit on the ground this year, and we don’t have any lawn chairs. I have to make do with sitting on the step in my coat and fuzzy hat.
It’s not the same.
It’s funny the things you notice when you sit: the pattern of brick and the color and the little systems of green growing in the cracks. There isn’t much green in the yard in February, but these plants—whatever they are, and tiny as they are—look as healthy and chipper as they probably do in June. This doubtless means something, but I don’t know what, and I’m too tired to figure it out.
To be honest, I don’t feel well.
I had an OB appointment on Monday to see how the baby’s doing. Turns out she’s low. Like, really low. Like, if my cervix were open and she were two centimeter’s lower, she’d technically be crowning. This explains, I suppose, why walking has become my least favorite activity ever and changing positions in bed requires a potent mixture of calculation, resolve, and great presence of mind.
“All you need,” the OB said cheerfully, pulling off her gloves, “is a few good contractions.”
Or a really hard sneeze, one of the women on my birth board joked.
But I haven’t had any “good” contractions, just a steady supply of Braxton Hicks—painless but unpleasant, especially since my brain usually interprets the sensation as one of those pre-vomit cramps.
And I forgot it was Ash Wednesday until I saw it in the status updates in my Facebook feed this morning. I don’t have any good Lenten thoughts either, and I haven’t figured out what I want to give up. Sleep would probably be the easiest, soda the most self-serving. Neither seems very appropriate.
Although, as I think about it, there’s certainly aspects of both Lent and Easter mixed together in the experience of pregnancy and childbirth. The hope and pain, new life and sacrifice—though I think our insurance only covers a 48 hour stay in the tomb before one is required to resurrect enough to at least go home.
So, yes, there are parallels (shaky as they might be), and I could probably find more of them and run with it and write something a bit more meaningful. But I’m pretty sure that’s not going to happen today.
Today I am reading a book on gardening and taking a nap and eating girl scout cookies.
I believe they call it nesting.