violets - 1.jpg04.05.19

“The first wild-flower of the year is like land after sea.” –Thomas Wentworth Higginson in April Days.

“We have violets!” Rita texted me yesterday morning.  When I asked “where?!”, she sent me a detailed map of how to find the alley in which she had discovered them, so I could go see for myself.  “The flowers of late winter and early spring occupy places in our hearts well out of proportion to their size.  “ (Gertrude S. Wister).  That’s most certainly true.  But, I don’t know which gave me more joy–that violets have appeared, or that Rita and I are in this together.

I had two long back-to-back days in town this week, and by the time I got home to the lake, I was almost out of oxygen.  I couldn’t wait to get out on the porch–now we’ve moved to the main porch since the sun has traveled north behind the big Ponderosa off our bedroom.  I’m still in a parka and a wool blanket wrapped around me, as the sun is filtered by clouds, but it fills me back up to hear lapping waves and watch waterfowl skim over the water.  Any day, I’ll hear the loons.  Yesterday afternoon, at last, Johnson’s pond was clear of ice, and the pair of Canada geese who stand way too close to the highway, can make their nest at water’s edge.  The final piles of snow have melted off our roof, and a narrow path of grass has revealed itself down to the dock.  March went out like a lamb, covering us in sunshine, but leaving us behind in moisture.  So, it’s good news that cool weather and rain is in the forecast for as far out as we can see.  I can get back to my spring cleaning projects inside the house, and read a book by the fire.  Overcome by spring green right now, I decided I needed to paint the bottom half of my red kitchen cabinets in “pea green”, which means that Don has slaved away all week, meticulously painting them, and struggling with the challenging Farrow and Ball paint I love so much.  He can’t wait to get out of the house.

T.S. Eliot wrote in The Wasteland that “April is the cruelest month”, and it often feels just like that when it seems it will never ever be warm again.   But, there is the occasional day when it feels like we should just “go make the call”, as Stuart Kestenbaum writes in his poem, April Prayer.

Just before the green begins there is the hint of green
a blush of color, and the red buds thicken
the ends of the maple’s branches and everything
is poised before the start of a new world,
which is really the same world
just moving forward from bud
to flower to blossom to fruit
to harvest to sweet sleep, and the roots
await the next signal, every signal
every call a miracle and the switchboard
is lighting up and the operators are
standing by in the pledge drive we’ve
all been listening to: Go make the call.


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