Today was my day off, and I wasn't much looking forward to the prospects of yet another rainy day. It's been raining here for the last five days. And raining. And raining.
I started the day busily. My usual 5:30am walk with Watson, our dog (and listening to Billie Holiday on the iPod - what a great way to begin the day). Making lunch for my son, Grady. Then, feeling a sense of needing to do something I decided to make banana bread. We had some bananas here that were well beyond being comfortably served as finger-food, but ideal for banana bread... mushy, sticky, sugar and flavor content at the max. So I threw that together.
Still feeling energetic. I drafted Grady into service before the bus came and we pulled out the slow cooker and threw together a ham stew... pork shoulder bones, a pound of ham, carrots, potatoes, onion, celery, apple, dark red kidney beans, cannelloni beans, butterbeans, salt, pepper and a sprinkling of ground cloves. A veritable smorgasbord of whatever I could find that seemed like it may work and probably needed to have something done with it before it didn't resemble edible food any longer (and it all worked quite well - the stew was delicious).
7am... Grady leaves for the bus, and I decide to grab a cup of coffee, take a break and sit on the back porch to read.
It was really quite pleasant out. Not too warm, not too chilly. If you know me you know I love coffee, but this coffee... this coffee was particularly wonderful. Grady has been on a Melitta kick, and he makes it extra strong. Hot and steamy and muddy and black, sipped outdoors on the porch when there's a bit of a damp edge in the air. I settled into a chair, put up my feet, started playing Beethoven's "Triple Concerto" on my iPod and began to read.
Within about half an hour above the strains of the concerto (which seemed amazingly spring-like on this morning) I became very aware of the chatter of the birds. A chatter that grew louder and louder as the moments passed. I decided to put the book down and just spend time watching them go through their morning routine. We have a small bird house that my Dad built for us that hangs next to our porch and a family of sparrows has taken up residence there. Another family is building a nest under the overhang of the porch roof. I then noticed a pair of robins building a nest in our lilac tree (the female became quite agitated when I ventured out into the yard for a better look). And a variety of other birds - including a brilliant yellow one that looked like a finch - shooting this way and that, carrying worms and bits a dried grass or twigs. All of them busily flitting around, doing their thing, preparing for new life. And despite the rain, and the chill, the dreary dampness and the smoky looking sky in a multitude of shades of gray I really started to enjoy - even revel - in this morning. On a day which I initially felt would be a literal washout I had managed to get some things going on the stove and in the oven that were slowly filling the house with wonderful smells. I had listened to some really extraordinary music that warmed my heart and filled my soul. And I took a few quiet moments from what could have been an insanely busy day of errands and tasks to watch the new life happening... the excitement of springtime even on a dreary day. And I felt very fortunate and grateful. Grateful for a beautiful morning... and for a really nice steamy cup of black coffee. God is good.