A Wintry Sonnet by Christina Rossetti
A Robin said: The Spring will never come,
And I shall never care to build again.
A Rosebush said: These frosts are wearisome,
My sap will never stir for sun or rain.
The half Moon said: These nights are fogged and slow,
I neither care to wax nor care to wane.
The Ocean said: I thirst from long ago,
Because earth’s rivers cannot fill the main.–
When Springtime came, red Robin built a nest,
And trilled a lover’s song in sheer delight.
Grey hoarfrost vanished, and the Rose with might
Clothed her in leaves and buds of crimson core.
The dim Moon brightened. Ocean sunned his crest,
Dimpled his blue, yet thirsted evermore.
Spring swept in late last night, making this the earliest start to spring in a century. It has something to do with how humans add a leap year to the calendar, in our inadequate attempt to line us ourselves up with the earth’s equinoxes. According to NASA’s Michelle Thaller, “We all sort of think that the universe was made for us. The day and night cycle does not fit into the year. Why isn’t it perfect? Because why should it be?” As an astrophysicist, she says she finds meaning in things that are beyond the control of humans. “You know, we’re all on this little rotating rock together and we’re tiny,” she says. “The only thing we have is each other. The only thing that’s going to help the loneliness is each other.” (Copyright 2020 NPR.)
I imagine that we will remember Spring 2020 as the time everything was changed by the coronovirus. It seems somewhat synchronistic that this once in a century early spring coincides with the arrival of the coronavirus, which Bill Gates said might be a ‘once-in-a-century pathogen’. I have no idea how to make meaning out of it. Alain de Botton wrote a piece in The New York Times this week titled, Camus on the Coronavirus, and he writes …”Camus believed that the actual historical incidents we call plagues are merely concentrations of a universal precondition, dramatic instances of a perpetual rule: that all human beings are vulnerable to being randomly exterminated at any time, by a virus, an accident or the actions of our fellow man.” Is it any wonder we awaken in the middle of the night, unable to return to sleep. This past week has felt like an eternity, and it is too overwhelming to imagine the months ahead of us. We are all riding an emotional roller coaster, and, as Thaller says, all we have is each other. I so miss my faraway families. The phone calls, texts, emails, and sharing of funny videos between us, helps me, but I am lonely for them. All we can do is take it day by day, piece by piece, all in this together.
Waking up to spring this morning, feeling so weary, I thought about how spring had arrived whilst I slept, on its certain celestial schedule. No matter what, the buds on the trees are set to burst open in the sunshine. We went for an afternoon walk, on this important day, out on the dry lake bed, to the mouth of the Flathead River, with not a cloud in the sky. Bald eagles perched by their nests, white heads brilliant against the blue sky. Waterfowl bobbed on the sparkling diamonds of light on the water, and families–no doubt desperate to get out of the house–walked dogs and chatted, while their children ran around on the sand, holding arms high to watch their metallic streamers flutter in the breeze behind them. I was grateful for the comfort and solace, for a few hours today, just in knowing that–in Spring of 2020– “The dim moon brightened. Ocean sunned his crest.”