The Little House is fast asleep. We come to rouse it, briefly, from its slumber. The world around it is already beginning to stir. Poking out from a landscape of browns and grays are edges of the palest, most tenative greens. Snowdrops greet us at the door like tiny footmen.
The house is just as we left it this fall, everything still pale and fresh and cold like the inside of sea shell. I set a fire, watching with satisfaction the chimney draw and the fatwood drip.
There is work to be done. Roses need pruning, vines need pulling, trees need feeding, shears need sharpening, ladders need climbing. And if there's a ladder, my dad will climb it - come hell or high water. The fruit trees beg for a haircut, and we oblige, clippers and saws in hand. I gather armfuls of fallen branches, their fat buds promising cherry blossoms in four week's time.
These days I find grace in the smallest things.