Tomorrow, at just about the time we wake up, is the vernal equinox, and the sun will cross the celestial equator and travel from south to the north. Poetically described on the EarthSky blog, here in the northern hemisphere, “we’re enjoying earlier sunrises, later sunsets, softer winds, sprouting plants.” Indeed, a lot has changed in the week we’ve been home from Switzerland. Last Sunday, I walked down to water’s edge in deep crusty snow and now it has gone, leaving bits of “dirty laundry”strewn on the edges, as a poet once described. The fat robins are singing their hearts out with all of their tunes. Bright white Tundra Swans are flying in big flocks across the moisture-laden gray clouds, and the pair of Canada geese, who come E V E R Y single year to nest on Johnson’s pond along the highway, are back, standing on the ice, waiting for it to melt.
Spring is somewhat startling to me, at this stage of my life. I’ve written on my blog long enough now that I can go back several years, and see what was happening then on this date. It’s always identical and I always respond with the same surprise, even wonder. This year, an occasional waft of melancholy has drifted in on Spring’s cold breeze. It’s been raining–a lot. And, I’m still settling myself down into my nest after a long trip away from home. Maybe, I’m counting my own tree rings, as Philip Larkin talks about in his spring poem, “The Trees”. Or, maybe, I just need a little sunshine.
Here in the north country, Spring is a very long season and it is wet and cold. It is so easy to want to rush it along, but Larkin cautions, “Begin afresh, afresh, afresh.”
The trees are coming into leaf
Like something almost being said;
The recent buds relax and spread,
Their greenness is a kind of grief.
Is it that they are born again
And we grow old?
No, they die too,
Their yearly trick of looking new
Is written down in rings of grain.
Yet still the unresting castles thresh
In fullgrown thickness every May.
Last year is dead, they seem to say,
Begin afresh, afresh, afresh.