Before and during / by Christina Rosalie

Out in the field of trampled grass we sit under a gray bucket of sky, looking towards the roofline of our house, angled and steep against the gentle slope of the hill. Redwing blackbirds call from their perches on budding branches. Maple sugaring tomorrow with the neighbors, and the electrical wiring is done, the walls finally framed. Drywall this week, then paint. These things feel like progress but there is always more to do.

This early part of spring is always a time of disbelief for me. So long since foliage was familiar, I can’t remember the soft outlines of trees, fuller with leaves, nor can my memory slip comfortably around the color of bright green grass or blossoms. Yet it is only a matter of weeks, a half a calendar’s page of days before the landscape’s contour changes. When the peepers come and the new sap stops dripping into the buckets in the sugar maple stands, it will happen. It is the same way with the house now. We walk the rooms, so accustomed to the film of drywall dust, the nails underfoot, the exposed studs. Picking paint samples is an act of faith. But soon we'll have floors, the kitchen cabinets in place, tile underfoot in the bathroom.

Before and during feel so much longer than the after, when in reality, of course, the opposite is true.