This Winter past was tenacious, a Narnian epic of cold and ice and snow that took heed of D. Thomas’s advice to “…not go gentle…” Even so, Spring arrived this past week, though with very little fanfare, very few signs to tell the difference between Wednesday’s Winter and Thursday’s Spring.
There are hummocks of snow on the leeward side of slopes, dirty brown and coarse with thaw and freeze. In what some locals call Coburn’s Bottom, there is still ice where we would expect to find clear vernal pools, and ice on the quarry as well. Near the Cut Off we would ordinarily see signs of spring wildflowers: at the very least, their tender shoots breaking ground. But not this year, not yet. No trees that I have seen are budding and even the bane of The Quarry Farm, Japanese honeysuckle, seems lifeless and brown.
But as obstinate as this Winter has proven itself to be, Spring is equally resolute. The signs are there if you look sharp and keep your ears open.
Skunks and raccoons and squirrels all shriek and whistle and bark their intentions, whether amorous or combative. Turkey vultures are making their way back, riding what thermals they can find and woodcocks, too, those strange little baseballs with wings and beaks, buzzing and whickering in the night. I have seen a killdeer or two and heard a red-winged blackbird. And there is duckweed on the quarry and Canada geese and mallards and wood ducks.
So, rather than the raucous, slippery immediacy of Cumming’s in just-, we’re experiencing a different sort of Spring, something more along the lines of…
Spring Is Like a Perhaps Hand
By E.E. Cummings
Spring is like a perhaps hand
(which comes carefully
out of Nowhere)arranging
a window,into which people look(while
arranging and changing placing
carefully there a strange
thing and a known thing here)and
changing everything carefully
spring is like a perhaps
Hand in a window
and fro moving New and
people stare carefully
moving a perhaps
fraction of flower here placing
an inch of air there)and
without breaking anything.