And suddenly - KA-BOOM - it finally IS spring!! The poem by e.e.cummings says it best:
spring then the world is mud-
and eddieandbill come
running from marbles and
piracies and it’s
when the world is puddle-wonderful
and bettyandisbel come dancing
from hop-scotch and jump-rope and
Those of you familiar with the poem will note that I have edited out the satanic balloon man and cummings' intimations of an imminent fall from innocence. For now, let’s let spring be itself, free of literary symbolism.
It might even be safe to stop talking about cleaning my muddy boots and actually do it. Like Margaret Laurence, I am warned by my Scots-Presbyterian heritage never to let my guard done, but even so…. Our back garden is rocking with birdsongs, not all of which we can identify. For the last month, I do know that a cadre of wild canaries has been camping in the ravine cleft. They sing beautiful complex melodies which must have taken their whole first year to learn. Jon and I once camped on a tiny island in Algonquin and were treated each dusk to a long serenade by a warbler we never identified. I will never forget its song, though: the twenty-seven note melody was repeated perfectly, over and over ; the last note, the twenty-eighth, however, was always BLAT, a sound which bore no relation to its predecessors. We concluded that he was an avian dropout who had lost interest near the end of the school year; if you have ever watched tai chi sets performed on special occasions, you might notice that the last ten of the hundred plus moves often share the same fate. (My tai chi sets have dodgy conclusions too . Occasionally I miss the slap entirely and knock myself over.)
Still, I get it. Love is in the air. Spring is so exciting that it’s hard to focus. Warblers have joined the canary chorus and, as I write this, I can hear both hairy and downy woodpeckers hammering away at lunch. Thanks to Pam’s binocs this morning, the hoarse croak Jon and I have been puzzled by has revealed itself to be a red-bellied woodpecker high in the dying black cherry tree. Last night at the base of the hill Jon and I flushed a rabbit so big that his cotton-ball tail was more the size of a Kleenex box. And everywhere there are deer. We recently ran into some who actually approached us; we learned later that neighbours had been feeding them raw carrots and broccoli (carrots, I understand, but come on…); anyway, we know that they get lots of green roughage from our sacrificial euonymus so we feel no obligation to provide even more luxurious items. Any day now the infant raccoons will show up, sometimes up on the roofs that they had insisted on climbing in spite of their mothers’ strong objections; by morning they are hysterical, bawling like the babies they are. The moms are close by -- partly amused, partly annoyed, but probably smugly confident that a lesson has been learned.
So a sincere welcome back, warm chaotic Earth! And now that I can get a shovel into the ground, I’m going out right now to dig a worm for my moss garden, reminding myself that, because I think of it as a tiny glassed Eden, I should probably dig two. Even a worm deserves a significant other.