Last Wednesday evening I went back to our home in NJ to take car of some things at the house and came back to the city Friday morning. Friends visited with Gretchen and the kids while I was away. Gina Provenzano who has been so very supportive stayed the night one evening and Marge Perry came over and cooked dinner for Gretchen and I think was with her until after 1:00 in the morning. Marge is an instructor at the Institute of Culinary Education so when she cooks for you it is quite a treat and a treat Gretchen certainly deserves. Gina is one of the few people Liam is willing to spend some time with and not require Gretchen to be right by his side. Needless to say I was comfortable being away knowing that Gretchen and the kids had such caring souls watching out for them. Ok I have to stop and add something completely unrelated….I just turned around to find Ella wearing a NYC Police ball cap and to make it even better she was wearing it backward like a catcher, something she must have known would make me even more proud. Ok back to the main topic. While I was in NJ I realized that spring was suddenly upon us and the land around our house had signs of it everywhere. The Bluebird couple we had courted 2 years ago had returned and I swear the vibrant blue male while sitting in the river birch tree outside our kitchen window was looking at me as if to say hello …nice to see you again…by the way how about filling the feeders? The Eastern Fly Catchers were back and chasing each other around in what was most likely some act of aerial foreplay. Our resident bear has made it known that he too is back in the valley by bending over the steel poles supporting our bird feeders and ripping the tops off of them to get at the black oil sunflower seeds. He will count on the sunflower seeds, early grasses, and occasionally our garbage until berries and other natural food sources are available. I am sharing these observations because they are just a few of the things that I look forward to each year and that I use as my barometer of the change and renewal that comes with spring. Spring is a special time of year for all living things and this year it is bitter sweet for me. I truly enjoyed the signs of spring at our home for we have worked very hard over the last few years to encourage nature to flourish all around us and to be able to share this natural world with our children. Liam had more fun last year with the frogs in our small pond than any toy he has ever been given. I realized while standing in the kitchen Thursday night around 1:00 am that the house felt sort of strange to me. The kitchen was not right and it felt as if something was out of place. It did not feel like the kitchen that I always felt so warm and comfortable in. I looked around to see what might be out of place. Anyone who knows me well can enough can attest to the fact that if the coffee maker was 3.25 inches to the right of where it was supposed to be might be just enough to cause this feeling in me. It was not the coffee maker out of place or anything as easily rectified or irrelevant by some people’s measure. It was my wife. She was not here in our house with me and it is she who makes wherever we are together home and my safe harbor. It was too quiet, too neat, and too empty. How could our home suddenly feel like little more than a hotel room? The place we spent so much time, energy, money, and planning to get just to our liking suddenly feels different. ieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee…ok I am going to leave the above as proof that I just dozed off and woke to find myself holding down the “e” key. Ghv….ok did it again…. I give up I will continue this line of thought in the a.m.…I need sleep.