Sprung: Dogs & Daffodils
Blue sky this Saturday morning … something that’s appearing a lot lately on my daily gratitude list. On Nantucket, even cold, clear skies in April are worth celebrating. After the winter we just survived, blue is a very good color.
So is yellow. In past years, I’ve been awfully grinchy about Daffy weekend, refusing to participate, other than parking somewhere along Milestone Road to watch the parade wiz by. I do love the cars, and always have. But I tend to crab about the crowds downtown, and the gathering in ‘Sconset, which is ridiculous, because the couple of times I’ve dragged my bad attitude out there, I’ve had a great time.
Today, a head cold is giving me an excuse to be grumpy, but I plan to dig out the dog collar with daffodils for my lady dog, Io, and to raid my tiny patch of mini daffies to wind into Boo Radley’s collar. We will uphold the tradition of cheering on the parade from the back of my truck; I will be waving Kleenex at the passing cars, no doubt.
Oddly, there’s no doubt about my actual enthusiasm, either. I spent the last six weeks crocheting many, many daffodils out of scrap wool, to decorate a friend’s vintage Bronco. I PARTICIPTED! Whether or not I make it out to the east end to inspect my efforts up close remains to be seen.
Nine hours later…
I guess a winter of being held hostage by a frozen, truck-eating puddle and relentless snowfall was an excellent motivator to get out into the world of Jonquil Lust. My partner in crime, who usually only ventures into Daffy Land on his bicycle (in order to make a quick getaway when necessary), consented to a roadside picnic on the parade route, accompanied by Boo and Io, slightly decorated as previously described. My head cold relented, and my mood lightened. We dashed to Bartlett’s for lazy-person supplies, arriving in good time for a space on Milestone, halfway between the rotary and Monomoy.
Hunkered down out of the crispy wind with confused dogs in the truck bed (they are not acclimated to that area of the vehicle), we ate our soup, until we heard the familiar, distant honking, clambering, and wind-up sirens of the antique fire trucks. Ten million cars later (side note: it is always so fun when I hear friends in the parade calling my name as they zoom by; I must confess my narcissism, as it’s appropriate for a Narcissus Festival, and it makes the parade extra wonderful), the clusters of my crocheted daffodils, attached to a red Bronco disguised as a green and yellow Bronco by many yards of hand loomed, knitted panels, appear around the bend. They are dead last, behind a series of regular cars. The team inside recognizes us instantly, shrieking and waving a ribbon; we won! Second place! This is great!
“Do you want to go to ‘Sconset?”
“You said you wanted to earlier.”
“Did I? Okay.”
We headed out the long way around, with a stop in the woods for a leg stretch/lift. The daffodils just before the Polpis cemetery were, as always, spectacular; these are a most favorite set of drifts. Sesachacha’s water was still down off its banks, so tempting for a poke-around, but we were on a mission. The universe smiled, we found an excellent parking space, and IT WAS FUN. Also it was predictably (but manageably) stressful, because my younger dog is generally worried about everything in the world all the time (where on earth does she get that, I wonder?).
Weaving along 'Sconset's Main Street through a massive throng of people, other dogs, and goats (yes, goats; there were at least three), was not a relaxing situation for her, or the person on the other end of the leash (me), who was trying to get her to stop barking (she did, eventually). Her stunning older half-brother, who is creamy white, blissfully silent, weighing in at a fit 130 pounds, was getting the usual attention: “Is that a dire wolf?” “That’s a big dog!” “What kind of dog is that?” “I’ve never seen a German Shepherd like that before!” “Can I pet him? Is he friendly?” (Quite.) I could see my partner’s brain flashing emergency I-wish-I-had-my-bike signals after the ninety-third usual comment/inquiry, but he weathered it well. We saw plenty of friends, and two of Io’s sisters, so family as well. Boo Radley stood next to an Irish Wolfhound, and matched his height exactly. I was proud … the narcissi had obviously intoxicated me, as the wine had intoxicated the rest of everyone who was there. But enough was enough. We are all so easily overwhelmed.
The shepherds were quiet on the way back. There were little parties every now and then, spread along the Milestone Road. My PIC said that it must be party everywhere day, as long as it’s on the road to ‘Sconset. He mentioned how intense it had been for the pups; “They’re country dogs,” he said. But we took them to town anyway, to get a cone and a frappe at the drugstore. Making sure they were traumatized as much as possible, we managed to set off the truck’s alarm on Main Street as we were leaving. Io might think twice the next time she’s offered a ride (not; she lives for the thrill of the back seat of that truck, two-year-old teenager that she is).
For the first time in her young life, she had to be invited to go eat her dinner later on. She slunk her way to her warm dish, shivering with exhaustion. Her big brother passed out under the bare hydrangea tree next to the front door, until the sun set, when he demanded the comfort of his bed with a short bark. It was this year’s first, extremely perfect, spring day, right on schedule. Tonight, we’re recovering with the Correspondents’ Dinner on C-Span, which brings back a flood of memories of my own young life before here, many springs ago. A long, strange (often wonderful) trip it’s been, and off it goes for more. We are sprung after all…