Spring has come to Pennsylvania. For several days, the temperatures rose above 32F and we could consider putting the heavy winter coats further back in the cupboards. Earlier this week, we noticed that the small birds were back, flitting between the bare branches looking, no doubt, for suitable perches for nesting. Yesterday the robins were parading on green grass.
American robins aren’t a bit like the cosy balls of fluff on British Christmas Cards. American robins are big, bold birds, thrusting their orange paunches before them under their severe black caps. Upright and territorial, they strut their patch, eyes everywhere looking for the merest encroachment. I call them avian policemen.
Today, it’s snowing. The temperatures are hovering in the 20Fs; the roads are only wet at the moment but the grass has turned white and it’s coming down pretty heavily. No sign of the birds, policemen or otherwise. We are fortunate in being home before it began to look serious.
We had dental appointments this morning and were met with the crushing news that our much-loved dentist is hanging up his shingle later this month. I can remember as a child being held down forcibly in the chair while someone poked around inside my mouth and for most of my adult life I dreaded dental visits, seeing the men in white coats (and they almost always were men) as adversaries not far above the Inquisition.
Then we moved to this little town in Pennsylvania and met Dr. Sunday and his wife ,who ran the paper side of things. I could not believe that I began to enjoy visiting the dentist, where each appointment became a social occasion, filled with softly spoken advice, much laughter and tales of family – as much a friendship as a professional interaction. Today, I had tears in my eyes not of fear or pain but of loss. I understand that they, like many professionals, have dedicated their lives to their patients and are more than entitled to some freedom to enjoy life and happier pursuits— but, oh, how I will miss my dental visits.