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Something About Spring



There's something about spring.... Trees and shrubs madly competing to get all their leaves out first, big, fat, lush; grass turning too green, then being outdone by the too-yellow of a carpet of dandelion; tulips burning up the near-empty garden beds with hues of deep purple and barnfire reds. It's all somehow too much.

And people, too, popping out of their sealed houses, shivering in thin shirts and sandals with grim determination, trying to ignore the hard spring breeze.

In all that rushing towards new life, that frenzy seemingly shared by all living things, with the swallows repairing last year's nests, and the Canada Geese squatting in the middle of the hayfield, or even by the side of the road to get the new crop of children out ... in all that there is also denial, a forgetting of what fails to return, what has quietly ceased during autumn and winter: plants that went underground and have failed to rise again, animals whose last breath rode away on the stiff winds of that very cold January, people who celebrated the beginning of a new year they were not ever going to see.

Something gets lost when the sun is too bright against the too-blue sky, when we are too excited, too happy. What lives at the margins and lives marginally goes unnoticed in that mood. Souls that suffer, suffer more against the background of unmitigated cheer. Who stops to wait for what grows more slowly and in a quieter key, adjusts the pace to keep company with stragglers, those who are blinded by that light, who don't trust months that over-promise-- April or May.

Out in the garden I am forced to work slowly to restore the beds, preparing them for new seed and new seedlings. Waiting a day, and then another, because the night-frosts keep coming. It takes patience, this nurturing, and patience makes time for noticing things: earthworms; nettles creeping into the garden; stones that rise to the surface like animals coming up for air.

It is quiet, melancholy. Thoughts follow the incisions in the soil, the small cuts in the earth's crust made by the gardening tools. Only the heart bleeds for the promises made and not kept, mine and others', the winter-dreams that did not survive the coming of the light, the loves that have been traded for the safety of this small garden and its tiny peace.

The soil feels warm as I shove in my hands. How would it be to keep digging and climb in as into a shallow cave. Close the trapdoor above and be gone, sweet crumbs of earth falling on lips and eyes, the sound of radishes growing everywhere.

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