by Maya Spector
It’s time to break out —
Time to punch our way out of
the dark winter prison.
Lilacs are doing it
in sudden explosions of soft purple,
And the jasmine vines, and ranunculus, too.
There is no jailer powerful enough
to hold Spring contained.
Let that be a lesson.
Stop holding back the blossoming!
Quit shutting eyes and gritting teeth,
curling fingers into fists, hunching shoulders.
Lose your determination to remain unchanged.
All the forces of nature
want you to open,
Their gentle nudge carries behind it
the force of a flash flood.
Why make a cell your home
when the door is unlocked
and the garden is waiting for you?
Mary asked me the other day how I keep from being depressed by the long winters, and the even longer cold springs. I told her it’s all about the water, the life-giving precious water. I fully admit that after leaving arid Colorado twenty years ago, with its 364 days of sunshine, this weather was a depressing shock. It’s taken time to appreciate the water, and a conscious effort to give in and accept the rhythm of winter’s darkness and summer’s midnight suns. And the midnight sun days are a fraction of the over-all experience. That’s just how it is, so might as well be part of it, if this is to be Home.
I told her that everybody’s saying, “well, at least it’s not snowing”, and there’s a real sense of community when there are a few hours of warm sunshine in the midst of it all. Rita sends me photos of the first snowdrops she’s spotted on her walks, and reports of buttercup sightings. There’s a lot of “shutting eyes and gritting teeth, curling fingers into fists, hunching shoulders” as Spring approaches, but once it comes into view, this force of nature changes us. It seems everybody that we know, who is our age, is gone to Hawaii or dragging their little trailers behind them to deserts and Mexican beaches, and sending photos in which they have turned into hippies. “It’s time to break out–jailbreak time”!
Even our NOAA weather reporters are displaying this “force of a flash flood”. Yesterday, one of them wrote that we might have a “clap of thunder” in the afternoon. A single clap of thunder. He/she felt that was important to report. (We did, BTW, have a single clap at 4:05 p.m.) There’s a stirring, a lightning of the spirit, a hopefulness, that comes with unlocking the force and grip and darkness of the long cold Winter, and, at some point, I think we “lose our determination to remain unchanged” and just “punch our way out” and look for every single sign of Spring to open up, and we go for it. Kinda like the worms that are flooded over the roadways and the lethargic spiders on the rocks down by the water. How often do you get to notice that “all the forces of nature want you to open”? Well, we do here.