February 17, 2017

in Just-spring when the world is mud-luscious


Loomings. Every year, sometime between the fade of Indian summer and the rise of white drifts, I find myself entering the forgetting. Underneath the rain and the packed ice my world goes brown and brittle, sodden with leaf mulch, sad with weed sighs, and the mind fills with all the past gone years.

The weather becomes predictable and hence I pay more attention to the predictions -- a kind of confirmation bias of gloom; sought to bolster my own pessimism of this time, of that place,

Of things ill done and done to others' harm
Which once you took for exercise of virtue.

In the forgetting time the sunlight hours of the day seem to drain rapidly away until you mark well, and others underscore for you, the shortest day of the year. But once that passes, the adding of sunlight to the day seems to come on with agonizing slowness and you note, ruefully, on a January Sunday, that at 7:15 it is still dark.

And then, on that same Sunday, only four hours later you open the door and step out into your little corner of the world. And you smell it. You smell it every year and every year you forget until it comes back again.

You smell that faint, distant, almost ineffable, sweetness coming in on a breeze from the south. You look to the north and you see the slate sky swirling away, almost ablating before your eyes, and the washed teal blue revealed. Not the winter's blue of stark ice, but a shade like that seen in a cast-off jay's feather.

It's the hint, the first faint far-off hint. It's a memory's whisper behind the breeze. You remember that to see what's really the news of the day you have to LOOK and look carefully. And so you look and you see what even yesterday you did not.

You see that the green of the pines has gotten brighter and taken on a faint shine. You see that the moss seems to be ringed round and shot through with small shoots of grass. You look and look more closely at the weeping birch and you see, as small as a butterfly's eyes, the buds beginning to push through the bark.

You see what was the rank and sodden leaf-mulch and sad decayed weeds and you think, "Compost. I really have to plant something now."

You pause on the street corner of your little corner of the world and you feel, see, hear, smell and, yes, faintly on the tip of your tongue, taste the return of the world. It's back from winter as the abiding earth swings again closer to our home star. It is today and today is Just-spring.

And in spite of yourself you remember the plaque on the wall at your daughter's school somewhere in all those past gone years:

This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it -- Psalm 118
Posted by Vanderleun at February 17, 2017 11:38 PM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

You made my eyes twinkle, Gerard. The last line of the poem is in jest of anticipating an amber alert:




balloonMan whistles

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Posted by: Jewel at January 16, 2011 4:21 PM

In Re: "Ambition is a poor excuse for not having sense enough to be lazy."- McCarthy

Perhaps wisdom is knowing how to be so ambitious and dilligent that everything you do looks effortless - and you can look to be (and can be) - lazy.

Posted by: Mikey NTH at January 16, 2011 5:38 PM

Spring? Not even if the rodent is blind. We got a month and a half before we talk of spring.

Posted by: Fat Man at January 16, 2011 6:47 PM

Until I went to sea, I had no idea that the first hint of land would be smell, not sight.

That's what you describe. We're at sea, but we're coming home.

Posted by: shoreacres at January 16, 2011 8:59 PM

Ah, shoreacres, your post reminded me of the opening chapter in James Michener's Iberia, where he is at sea and is carried aboard a Valencian boat with barrels of oranges in briny seawater, and the first scent from Spain to greet him is orange blossoms.

Posted by: Jewel at January 16, 2011 9:48 PM

Mudluscious...the word always makes me think of Sr. Mary Catherine...12th grade English.

Waiting for that smell...that lace of green appearing in the trees.

Posted by: M*A at January 16, 2011 10:34 PM

Jewel - Oranges, sea brine, blossoms and boats. Now, that's perfect!

Posted by: shoreacres at January 17, 2011 5:42 AM

I don't know, Gerard. I saw that first hint yesterday, even the child - for whom everything is still Spring - mentioned that "it's sun time." I just sort of grunted "Sure. Sun. See you in June."

I should stop being such a sourpuss.

Posted by: Andy at January 17, 2011 7:59 AM

Not too early at all: today, in SW PA, I noticed a few birds singing, just for the heck of it, for the first time this season. :)

Posted by: ELC at January 19, 2011 7:09 PM

What a wonder-full thing to wake up to. I wish I had read it first this morning.

Posted by: DeAnn at February 25, 2012 5:49 AM

The earth does not get closer to the sun in Northern Hemisphere summer. It actually gets a little further away.

The seasons are caused by the direction of the tilt, which does not change. One one side of the sun the north pole points away from the sun, so the Northern Hemisphere gets less sun (winter). On the other side of the sun(half a year later) the opposite happens.

The north pole points to the North Star (Polaris) all year around, proving the axis of the earth does not change.

Posted by: Freddy T at February 25, 2012 12:55 PM

Gerard, what do you do for money these days? Serious question.

Posted by: blonss at February 25, 2012 4:58 PM

Mud-luscious, good descriptive for this post, and in the old English February was that month, but it was called "Solmonath," mud month.

Posted by: John Venlet at February 17, 2017 12:11 PM

Here in the Colorado Rockies we love to hate the spring breakup. The clean white snow dissolves into nearly bottomless brown mud. I am always reminded that it wasn't the Russian winters that stopped the Wehrmacht, it was the Russian spring.

Posted by: Pistol at February 17, 2017 12:26 PM

Just-spring . . . means Spring Training and the return of the boys of summer. Maybe the mud of a February thaw even in New England is a kind of Spring Training for the soul.

Posted by: PA Cat at February 17, 2017 3:14 PM

We have 4" high lillies in the front yard. Yay!

Posted by: ghostsniper at February 18, 2017 4:30 AM