You’ve been more tired than usual lately. You go to bed earlier and wake up with heavier eyes. This, mere days after your birthday. Today you forgo the usual ground beans and reach for some loose tea – chamomile and rooibos – that came highly recommended by the woman at the shop. “Pleasing,” she said, “with relaxing notes.” Relaxing notes. You’ve been one long-held limp note lately. The other day, you read a dozen articles and forgot them by evening. Your memory is roused in conversation. Someone will say something and you remember reading something about that topic at some point. Threads, covered in beads, buried under your t-shirts.

Things are like they used to be, except when they aren’t. New aches. New constraints. “They make clothes smaller these days”, your father used to say. You think of him when your mug is to your mouth in the wee hours, when the frost has yet to leave your windshield. The apple tree needs pruning, and you will seek counsel for that. The grass is piss-spring yellow. That tattered section of walkway needs new concrete. With tea on your lips, you think of the bearded hide-tanner in Nova Scotia who made your wallet. The phantom relief of your credit cards is smooth to the touch, and shiny. That was eight years ago. Dad liked leather stuff, too.

Soon, it will be time for yard bags and gasoline for the lawn mower. You’ll put on those old work gloves and smell last year’s labour. You’ll slide on your boots and trundle to the raised beds. You’ll haul compost next week – yes, it may be a bit early, but lettuce waits for no one – and get everything ready. You ordered your seeds a month ago and they sit patiently on your dresser. Last week you saw a set of shears you liked. Maybe you should buy them. Perhaps it is safe to uncover the barbecue.

April removes her sandals from winter hock and places them on your front step. The sun, for too long your sole winter light, stays longer. Your snow shovel bows politely and says, “Don’t get up. I’ll let myself out.” Deadfall and rubble taunt – you should listen to them, and do something. Time to remove the wool and flannel. Wipe the table. Clear your throat. Don your warm-weather frock. Warm your books and mark your pages. Begin.