Spring rains

rains - 1


I had planned to talk about Spring this morning, by posting a photo I took on Sunday.  It was a cloudless blue sky morning with bright sunshine on the snow-covered peaks which surround Flathead Lake.  But, then came yesterday, and this was my view when I went into town for yoga class.  When I left the studio, deep splashing puddles were everywhere, but the rain had turned into one of those mists in which you’re not sure it’s really raining, but you can’t see out of your glasses.  Driving back home, early in the afternoon, the fields were shallow lakes with green poking up in rows,  and the ditches next to the highway had become little ponds, full of Mallards, and black birds crowded together on the bordering shrubs.  The lake was covered by dense white and gray clouds which were absolutely drenched and sagging with moisture, but sunshine high overhead gave them shape and definition.  And, sure enough, as I sat by the fire before dinner, with two soggy kitties on my lap, the sky became lighter and brighter and the clouds moved east, and at bedtime, I looked through the slats of my shutters and saw a clear pink and cloudless sky.  Such are the surprises in a spring day.

Another surprise this year has been that the lake is filling up much sooner.   Heavy rains this month have filled the rivers, well ahead of melting snows, and they can’t release water any faster down at the dam, for fear of stream flooding.   Our NOAA forecasts, which used to be colored in the blue, pink and purple colors of winter weather storm warnings, are now various shades of green, announcing flood warnings and hydrology reports.  All of this has been bad news for Don, with his plan to get the sailboat mooring ball firmly anchored into position, in a dry lakebed.  The lake just hasn’t dropped enough, so he moved to Plan B, which means that the 400 pound anchor rests in two and one half feet of water, and needs to still be moved seven feet further out.  Also, there are two struggling Douglas Firs at water’s edge, which need to be cut down while there is still room in the lake bed to buck them up and get them out of there.

In the meantime, the robin, who makes a nest every year on the outlooker beam on the porch, is back this morning.   We have to sweep the nest away each year, before there are eggs, to prevent kitty malice, but for now, he sits on the Aspen branch, than hops up to the beam, down to the porch railing, and back to the branch, pondering a strategy for his project.  Much like Don, standing in chest waders in the lake, with his crow bar, looking down at the heavy anchor.  I’m thinking we need these long slow Springs up here in the North Country, as there is much to do after a long Winter.  And, we probably need to come out of our hibernation at a somewhat slower pace than in warmer climes, not too much at once.  As Mary Oliver says it her poem, “Not enough is a poor life/But too much is, well, too much.”  We certainly aren’t exhausted by Verdi or Mahler around here in springtime.

Every spring
I hear the thrush singing
in the glowing woods
he is only passing through.
His voice is deep,
then he lifts it until it seems
to fall from the sky.
I am thrilled.
I am grateful.
Then, by the end of morning,
he’s gone, nothing but silence
out of the tree
where he rested for a night.
And this I find acceptable.
Not enough is a poor life.
But too much is, well, too much.
Imagine Verdi or Mahler
every day, all day.
It would exhaust anyone.
― Mary Oliver, A Thousand Mornings

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