BOB GRAY: March’s face

In a cold mist, I’m out to walk the old dog on a late January morning.

With Sasha’s not being a fan of this weather, I have to coax her out with me to confront a discouraging brown-gray aspect of slush, mud and rotting snow. Unprepared and as far from home as we could possibly be, we’re pelted by sleety rain.

That afternoon when, out of boredom, I decide to split some wood for my prayer fire, my boot prints around the wood pile seep full of muddy water. I note randomly how most of them resemble miniature Lake Erie’s.

The site’s in the shadow of the north side of the house where, most every year, the ground there’s hard and wintry until April.

On my first swing, instead of clanging a split from an ash chunk resting on the should-be-iron earth, the wood drives an inch into the muck.

To get anything done, I roll my oak chopping block near the pile I’m working up. Instead of the rush of pleasure I usually get chopping wood, today the whole thing is merely something to do.

It’s difficult to understand how most everyone complained about the few frigid but sun-lit days last week that froze the mud firm and dry, twinkled the remaining blotches of snow.

For me this unwonted warmth is discouraging, even disconcerting. My mind’s not right.

Paraphrasing a poem I know, something is amiss and out of place when January comes wearing March’s face.