I felt miserable yesterday. All day, I was on the edge of a migraine, my vision blurring in and out, my brain fuzzy, my body just wanting to sleep. Two days of rain had caused flooding, closing the main road to town, and it took me an hour to get to work. My students were tired, jetlagged from the time change, and everything felt out of sync. I had a meeting with the chair of the most powerful department on campus, a meeting during which I had to tell him nicely that his faculty were not getting the concept of writing across the curriculum. All this was followed by a dentist appointment. Yes, lying in a chair with bright lights shining into your eyes and a cheerful woman doing painful things to my teeth was just what I needed.
When I came home, I decided to cancel an evening meeting. Spouse was off teaching a class, and I told the boys that they could make their own supper. I did some migraine prevention stuff, like heating up a bag of cracked corn in the microwave and putting it on my feet. I wanted to take a nap but the problem with headaches is that lying in bed with a headache makes me think about things I don't like about myself. Headaches have this weird way of making me feel bad about myself. And about the world. Everything is grey when I have a headache.
Instead of sleeping, I took the time to talk to a friend, telling him a long story about myself that I had been wanting to tell him. Not a happy story. A story, in fact, that makes me look somewhat like a selfish jerk. But somehow it felt good to tell the story to someone who would listen and understand. One of my students said this in class: "Sometimes I think we are just stories. And what we need in life is to tell our stories to someone who will listen." So I ignored my family, talked to my friend, then ate a bowl of cereal, got another hot thing for my feet, and went to bed at a decent hour. Because I was all talked out, I fell asleep right away.
This morning, I woke up without a headache to a morning of sunshine and bird song. The roads were open so my kids went off to school, my husband off to work. I pulled on my big rubber boots and headed to the woods behind my house.
How wonderful it felt to walk without snowshoes on! And without mittens. Or a hat. I could feel the spring air against my hands and face; I could breathe in that moist cool smell of new mud. The woods are brown and grey this time of year, the ground plastered with muddy wet leaves, puddles of water everywhere, dark and mysterious. But the most glorious sight in the woods, the hidden treasure of April, is all the moss. The white snow is gone, and in its place, atop every old stump or broken branch, are gorgeous bright green mosses. Everywhere I walk, I notice them, sometimes whole beds of bright green in a raised curving mound. Later in the year, tree foliage, bushes, undergrowth of all kinds will hide the moss, but this time of year, I can see brillian mosses everywhere I turn.
My friend Plantswoman is a bryologist and she has taught me to look closely at the mosses, because up close they are all different. So sometimes I do stoop to look at the way this moss looks like minature little ferns, while this one has shapes that remind me of stars. But mostly, I just keep striding along, splashing through puddles, tramping happily through mud, rejoicing at all the green, the pattern of lovely, lovely green, woven throughout my woods.