Don got home, the cat came back, and we just passed the mid-point between the Winter and Summer Solstices. There’s been a week of bright sunshine and brilliant moonshine, and the first of spring rains is forecasted for this week-end. I’ve been sitting on the porch off our bedroom, for my 5:00 cocktail hour with the kitties, wearing a wide-brimmed hat, and having “solar therapy”, as our local public radio calls it. I am convinced that I’ve actually seen the sun move north in the past four days, as it went behind a ponderosa branch yesterday, and brought a chill to the air at 6pm, which wasn’t there the day before. The lake is eerily still frozen solid and the shrill of tundra swans over on the river broadcasts across the ice to us. We saw three deer far out there a few days ago–a suicide walk to be sure. For, surely, the ice must break up soon?
I’ve been re-reading Henry Beston’s book, The Northern Farm, about life at a Maine homestead in the early 1930’s. About the coming of spring, he writes:
“If the opening music of the northern year begins with a first trumpet call of the return of light, and the return of warmth is the second great flourish from the air, the unsealing of the waters of earth is certainly the third.”
Now that the light has returned and remains in the sky until well after 8 p.m, and the porch, tucked away from the wind off our bedroom, is warm enough to sit on by 5 p.m., if the sun is shining, I am growing anxious for the unsealing of the lake. I’m longing to hear its waves and ripples and lapping at the shoreline, to watch the dance of light on its surface, to smell it back to life. Closing my eyes out there in the warm late afternoon sunshine, I imagine the sound of a fishing boat out on the water, or the distinctive sound of a paddle boarder floating by off the dock. Alas, I am getting WAY ahead of myself! With two feet of snow still on the ground, and a return to seasonal cold temperatures, we are a long way away from those halcyon days. It will be far better for me to appreciate the crystalline fog which hangs low over the snow-covered fields in the mornings, and the hoar-frost on trees next to the open river, and the way the buds are enlarging on the populus tremuloides, those aspens with the yellow-green leaves which will quake in early summer breezes off the big lakeside porch. And, the robins perched on top fences which are just beginning to emerge up out of the snow, and the shape of icicle swords which hang from the roof, the little birds which merrily belt out their tunes from the tops of trees, and the way ground is emerging underneath the bushes, and alongside the highways. The lesson of this season is surely Patience.
“Adopt the secret of nature; her secret is patience.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson