2011-04-07 / Sandy Days, Salty Nights

Yowling days of spring

March arrived in a turbulent whirl of spring fever, sweeping up the slow days of hibernating winter and spitting us out in great, rollicking waves. The neighborhood cats stalk each other around stucco corners, through gardens planted with plumbagos. The plumeria have not yet begun to bloom — still too dry, too wintry — and the cats wind their way through the leafless stalks at night. They send up mournful cries, pitiful sounds that are angry, lonely and lost.

We feel it, too. The heavy sleep of winter passes, and we are restless for some new thing, like shoots seeking sunlight from the newly turned earth.

My roommate, Adele, is plagued by bodily pains. She is a sensitive soul, quick to manifest deeper worries in physical form. When her workload becomes too heavy to carry, her hip goes out. When an irate colleague wears her down over the course of the day, she catches a cold. In the blustery sweep of spring, her shoulders ache.

“Some sort of blockage,” she calls it. She points to the spot where her arm joins her body. “Some blockage here. And here.” She points to her arm, her hand, her fingers.

We sit on our porch that fronts a small garden. The sun warms the tiles beneath our feet, and a red hibiscus tree blooms overhead. I tell Adele about an exercise taught to me by a wise friend, where describing a feeling — a physical pain, a distressing emotion — can alleviate discomfort.

“Can you tell me about the pain?” I ask her.

“Tight,” she says. “Constricted. Like I’m holding onto something.”

“And the color? Does the pain have a color?”

Adele reflects. “Orange,” she says finally. “Like the second chakra.” She laughs. The second chakra: governor of sexuality and reproductive organs. “I guess my second chakra must be blocked,” she says.

At night, the wind blows and blows, and stray cats yowl from the roof. A friend, Jules, passes in the evening. He prowls around the house and asks if we have any coffee. He is restless, like us. Adele makes a pot, and I bring out the good chocolate. We flatter Jules and attend to him, and he shines his attention like a beacon on the dark porch, wavering between the two of us. He stays after we have finished the pot of coffee, after Adele and I have washed the cups and wiped the table.  He curls up on a side chair with a magazine, throwing his unsettling masculine presence into our already unsettled household.

March fades toward April. The moon wanes, disappearing into a crescent. Adele and I research the gestation period of cats. We figure we will see a new litter by the end of May.

She comes home late one night and waves a dismissive hand over her evening.. “ Dinner with Jules,” she says.. “For work.” She moves through what’s left of the week in a sated glow. The restlessness - goes out of her. The pain in her shoulder fades away. The bright edge of spring turns toward the full roundnessof summer, and outside the wind has stopped howling. 

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