Surprised by Spring

Spring surprised me on a mid-February dawn. Two yellow blooms shone through the bleak wet, like Jupiter and bright Aldebaran side-by-side, cradled in a waxing crescent the night before. For that moment, those fluting, unlikely dabs were mine only, though a neighbor (now gone?) planted them long ago.

It was the instant of conception. Now fully born, this resurrecting season pours its blessings on us singly. Yes, we alive do share this rebirth. The world is all before us.  But each is alone in birth—startled into life to behold, to struggle, to endure, perhaps to do hard labor at love. Our communality may imply fellowship, but we are alone together. No doubt, the me of me lives covertly. The acid test, death, is proof of this.

Still, this insurgent life intimates flickerings of immortality. Remembrance of eternal childhood comes to all ages of life. The very young, limpid eyed, wonder at this time that is them. Youth exult, straining, yearning, inpatient to create life. Those no longer budding also feel desire stir deep within, though tempered by that solitary journey out of Eden. Even they in steep decline shuffle off the nag-thought that being is at best merely a slow, fatal march.

Spring is indulgent. Its gift, fulgent hope. The Mourning Dove’s soft coos, the flash of incandescent red, a glimpse of darting gold, the dogwood flake—all seem merrily to wake us with an expectancy of more beauty, more truth. Momently, we become this becoming. There is no cure—no bitterness, no infidelity—for greening love.

Do children still dance round the maypole? Or does the current Post-Offensive Puritanism banish this innocent, though satyric, rite of spring?

Instead, May is Stroke Awareness Month, Military Appreciation Month and even Craft Month, in Vermont. April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Poetry Appreciation Month and Donate Life Month in (thank you, Chris Christie) New Jersey. It figures that all March is Irish-American Heritage Month. It is also designated as Women’s History Month and—guess where—Texas History Month.

God may forgive this heavy litany of good intentions. But the wood spirits cannot like to see their lucent pearl dimmed so.  On our pendant world, high holy days mark the advent of spring universally. The equinox signals an emergence out of darkness and into light. All the indicators agree. The celestial miracle is coming.

What will happen? We never know. But we loosen our grip on the cold past. The season’s mystery suspends regrets and defers forebodings. And that is enough, in my secret life.

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Posted in Will's "Writing Life"

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