Today’s creative assignment is to making something unappetizing seem appetizing. I could disguise some disgusting food or substance as edible. Desirable, even. To honor my theme of “words,” I could draft a description of this nasty item, making it suitable for a gourmet menu.
But no. I can’t do any of that. Not today.
I’m too distracted by what’s happening outside. It’s April 14. We’ve just had a beautiful weekend of April showers and temperatures in the upper 60s and low 70s. And now?
Snow is not only falling but sticking to the ground around my suburban Chicago home.
This winter has been brutal. We have had more than enough of this nonsense. Perhaps the season’s first dusting of snow is appealing. The first big snow is an event worthy of scrapbook photos and phone calls to distant family. But as winter wears on, each accumulation becomes more of a nuisance.
And at this point in the year—the week before Easter, as kids are counting down days to summer vacation—it’s nauseating. Unappetizing, even.
That’s what I was thinking as my husband and I stared out the window tonight after dinner. And then Jim saw the robin.
“He’s got a worm,” he said.
At first I didn’t see the bird or his dinner. But at last I found the robin, dipping his beak in and out of the snow on our lawn. He struggled to keep hold. Only every second or third dip did he rise up dangling the pink, wiggly worm.
“Maybe he prefers his worms ice cold,” I said. I wondered how temperature affects the taste of a worm. I like pizza cold, right out of the fridge, almost as much as I like it piping hot from a wood-fired oven.
How often does a bird get to enjoy a frosty worm? Perhaps it’s a rare treat. Maybe the snowflakes serve as garnish, making an otherwise ordinary meal seem special. More appetizing.
I didn’t move fast enough to snap a photo of the robin enjoying his chilly supper. He swallowed it quickly, then fluttered up to a tree branch, maybe to savor the cool, wiggling about in his belly.
While he focused on that sensation, I snapped an image of our tulips, shivering in a bed that should be warm and brown, but instead is blanketed in frosty white.