Sunday, April 15, 2007

The Ides of April

Okay, so I'm a month off on the "Ides" thing (or just two days, if you're into technicalities of the Roman calendar). Regardless, I feel as though I've been running behind on everything lately. My workload is endless, and the Midwestern weather hasn't helped matters. The snow has finally (almost) melted from the blizzard that hit us last week (that's right, a snowstorm in April--thank you global warming) and the neighbors have begun emerging from their homes, dragging their rakes, garden shovels and a variety of noisy lawn tools with them in a frenzied attempt to catch up on missed days of yardwork. Ah, the delights of springtime.

I realize I could find things to complain about to suit each and every season (mosquito swarms in summer, frozen pipes in winter, those annoying-as-hell leaf blowers in fall and, yes, the return of hibernating neighbors to my consciousness in spring...), but I vowed I'd be "more positive" this year. Having some trouble with that today.

I mean, I'm inside, trying to concentrate, and it's just irritating: kids wacking tree trunks and bushes with sticks, their parents bellowing commands across the cul-de-sac, dogs barking furiously at wayward squirrels, trucks making those loud beeping noises as they back up, whatever is currently breaking the suburban silence when I open my window hoping only for fresh air. And, yet, it isn't as though I want to leave here. I like our subdivision (mostly) and even like (most of) the neighbors. I definitely like our Chicago suburb. And I have no choice but to like our Midwestern habitat because I grew up with it, I understand it, it's home and we're not moving.

But days like today remind me that I need a place to retreat to when the sounds of the outside world begin to color my attitude gray. And that place of retreat might be--ironically--outside. Away from the noisemaking neighbors, certainly, but on a serene bike path not too far away. I want to whiz by anyone chattering in place, clouding my thoughts with theirs. I want to feel the wind sweeping against me, offering limited resistance to my sense of movement. I want to keep the danger of discontent at bay because I know it won't take much to send my feebly positive attitude back into hiding.

So, I'm leaving the safe seclusion of my office and venturing out into springtime soon. Within the hour, for sure. Who knows what annoyances I'll encounter there--which suburban perils, risks or uncertainties lie in wait on that path--but I'm willing to take my chances. I've rolled my dice, and I'm crossing my river. And when I return (hopefully alive, well and refreshed), then I might have a prayer of getting some real work done.

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