It was afternoon more akin to late March than early January. Chinook-shocked snow shrunk back to reveal grass so green my eyes involuntarily scanned bare branches in search of impossible buds. It wasn't the first time this unusually mild winter had fooled my senses with false hints of spring. It was, however, the first time I decided to play along.
I opened all the windows above grade, and even one in the basement. Instead of reaching for ready-made snacks from the pantry, I prepared a fresh and simple tomato-mint salad and served it up with a dollop of ricotta cheese (Miss Particular opted for kidney beans on the side, and Mr. Copy-cat had it all, but that was to be expected). At 4:11pm, I checked the weather: 10 degrees Celcius, with the sun due to set at 4:28. With the window for a walk already waning, we pulled on mitts and sweaters and headed out the door.
We promenaded through the puddles as the cloud blushed pink. The route was familiar, the circumstances were not. I had been toying with the idea of making a trial run to preschool during the holidays to see if my ever-growing boy was up for taking the trip on his own two feet. That day, he proved himself more than up to the task; the walk took only five minutes more than usual, and he showed far more interest in keeping up with his sister and splashing in puddles than in wandering into front yards, or, as my odd helicopter worry supposed, dashing into traffic. His delight in the freedom was infectious, and the slightly slower pace left me time to take in details my eyes had skipped over before. I discovered an embossed flower decall gracing the white metal mailbox of my happy house and was charmed all over again.
The breeze turned brisk as dusk fell, and we all came home with rosy cheeks and runny noses. Once the boots were off, I set about closing windows against the chill before lighting candles against the darkness. We were wise in the ways of winter once more, but the dream was nice while it lasted.