Awakening to Spring

You would not know that today is the vernal equinox, the start of the Spring season, if you looked out my window.

fruit guild in snow, 20 March 2015
fruit guild in snow, 20 March 2015

 

It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade. — Charles Dickens

side yard, rock wall in snow, today
side yard, rock wall in snow, today

“Spring” for most of us evokes crocuses, daffodils, trees leafing out, bright green grass, soft rains, flowering fruit trees, birds nesting, baby animals born; but the view outside here remains as it has been since December, mostly white and grey, with a little more snow forecast for tomorrow.

There are nuances of difference over the last week or so, though, that speak to changes afoot:

we can see more of the buried perennials and shrubs now, peeking through the snow;

rhododendron buds above snow today
rhododendron buds above snow today
top of leucothoe peeking through snow today
top of leucothoe peeking through snow today

the goldfinches are becoming more yellow;

goldfinch yellowing, yesterday
goldfinch yellowing, yesterday

the turkeys and raccoons are in the yard back after months of absence;

and I just today saw the first junco I’ve seen around here since 1 December 2014.

junco today
junco today

Eventually, history tells us, we will again see green growth, flowers, fruits, nuts, insects, spiders, lepidoptera, frogs and snakes, birds’ nests, even if, for today, it’s more a concept than a reality.

*     *     *     *     *

The Shadow of Spring

In the first place,
dates aren’t solid.
One March 20 is not another March 20,
though all are the vernal equinox,
at least in some places.

A calendar can only take us so far.
A map as well.

There is data,
and then there is experience,
experience of Spring in a place –
in a garden, in a town, in a woods –
and a certain green or mud or birdsong
that signals awakening, something oozing life and lush,
something tinkling like a bell in the distance.

You’ve been asleep, a cozy safe sleep
with dreams that feel so real, so layered,
so evocative of what has been real,
of what could be real,
and you are dozy and soft,
lyrical and fluid.

And then, some light, some warmth,
something standing over you,
a comfort or a menace, it’s unclear,
and you wake up,
and you don’t know if it’s morning or evening,
you don’t know where you are on the continuum,
and that feels like a place to delve, to dig, to sink a shovel.

You want to sleep, and dream,
but time is moving, you can feel it,
and you are in a place
where you feel moved by time,
though you are quite still.
You feel called forth by the light,
the warmth, the energy of sun and soil,
you know you must open your winter eyes
and take in this new world
which is about to exist.

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