Tag Archive | spring

Crocus Jackpot

MOTHER NATURE

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That first crocus of the season – what can make you feel like a million bucks more than spying that first fresh flower of early spring? Maybe winning the lottery for actual millions of bucks would be better, but honestly, today I feel as though I’ve hit the jackpot.

Why? Well, I was walking out in the cold this late morning, after a nor’easter of a storm yesterday. No, not for daily exercise. That would be nice but if I’m being honest, I’ll admit I haven’t done much walking since my ankle-turning trip to San Francisco’s hills a few weeks back. No, I was simply collecting my mail from the mailbox by the road. I was favoring my left ankle a bit, giving it some room to breathe and stretch and find its way back to the flat sandy coast of Massachusetts. To even ground. Maybe I was looking more carefully for the inevitable dips and bends in the pavement that can catch a person unaware and send her flying.

So maybe I wouldn’t have seen it at all if not for my slightly worn foot. Maybe I’d have been absorbed in all the junk mail and looking for that surprise million dollar check from Publishers Clearing if not for the ache in my ankle. I guess those hills gave me a workout on purpose? Or maybe I’m just not meant to be the next winner of that prize if only I have the matching number? Who knows?

But in any case, I collected my mail and started back up the driveway, when I looked down and over to the shade of the arborvitae, past the snow bank and ice, into the lawn. Why I glanced that way, I couldn’t tell you, but I moved my eyes past my own bodily sphere, my own perceived interests.

And shock of shocks! There is was! A tiny little purple flower, cup-shaped, unfolding to catch the next rain. Green-y striped leaves bursting into the air like spears challenging the white stuff nearby. First out! Keep me down if you can! A daring, living, breathing entity that braved the storm. This bud reveled in life, taking the ultimate risk of survival, of growth, of desire to succeed. Freed itself from the frozen earth, as though anyone could do it. (All this confidence makes a crocus the loveliest of spring flowers.)

And you know what this makes me think? I think that from this desperate, spring-bound bud, I’ve hit the jackpot. It’s a crucible of understanding. Knowing that if a crocus can behave so courageously, so morally, so intentionally, then so can I.

If a bloom can find shelter in the icy cold and continue to blossom, certainly I can match this strength.

If a tiny purple and green flower can exhibit hope for the future of its existence, then surely, so can I discover my own hope.

Sore ankle or not, junk mail or a million dollar lottery ticket, no matter, I can do it. I can find my own reason for being.

And I promise to at least try to keep looking beyond myself for the secrets and wonders that make our world.

 

 

In Defense of Privacy

MOTHER NATURE

In defense of privacy, I call to witness the dogwoods of spring. Those flush petaled beauties, such showy persona, so bent on drawing your eye to their wonders. Your face can’t help but look upward at their pink delicate bounty balanced on graceful trunks and lacy branches. You don’t see what sustains them, what pulls them into the earth. Roots growing down into the sexy soil. Grasping for touch, for contact with the dark wetness. Tugging, teasing, persistent,their life force unseen. Drawing them to the deepness, to the watery well. The pink pulls you up and away on purpose. Dogwoods hide their desirous parts; they prefer to keep them private.

On Lily Streetlace-and-dogwood
Pink dogwoods
Make secret love with the earth

Then there are the tulips. Fighting the gravity of the world. A burst of color defines their loveliness. What is a tulip if not delight? Their fields cry out in splendor. Hallelujah! The hued beauty of the earth revealed! But the true glory lies below, in the privacy of the grainy ground. There, a single bulb splits open and surges its shoots toward the sun. Driven, desperate, pushing its way against the very tide. Wanting to live in two worlds, the rounded hidden one that nourishes it, the grassy air-lit one it desires.

On West Chestnut
Intense tulips bloom and strain
Straight up toward the compelling light

And finally I call the garden moss to testify. Tiny forest green and emerald parts that make the whole, they live in harmony with one other. They cover the rocks and stones and creep anywhere that suits them. Anywhere they can thrive. They exist on the morning dew. Their privacy springs from the anonymity they share; not one can be counted unique. Growing in dimension, spreading in unmeasured delirious abandon, considering no one but themselves. Oh, the greedy happiness!

On Pond
Steamy moss feasts

And nothing
Nothing
Nothing will stop
Their desire.

 

In Celebration of the Summer Solstice

MOTHER NATURE

spring-flowers

In celebration of the summer solstice, I say goodbye to this difficult, demanding, dissonant spring.

 

[Excerpt from PERSEPHONE IN HELL]

“Spring had come again, a time of great confusion in the natural world of southeastern Massachusetts. A time for tiny delicate crocus to bud, only to be buried and sometimes crushed under a late snowfall. For robins to fly home from their wanderings even before the earthworms work their way out of the frozen ground.

Azaleas bloom one week; daffodils another. Antisocial forsythia’s already come and gone along with the snowdrops. Cherry blossoms and rhododendrons and tulips awake in no particular order. Crab apples usually flower last, but not always.

Skunk and raccoon, squirrel and chipmunk scurry out of their nests willy nilly, looking for something fresh to eat after the long lonely winter. Everybody’s lean and hungry. All living things in the spring look for their chance, search for a place to thrive, jockey for position.

Perhaps there is harmony and concordance in a New York spring, or in Pennsylvania, or Washington DC. But in southeastern Massachusetts, Mother Nature cries out a dissonant prelude. She doesn’t desire a symphony of bloom. She fights to keep everyone and everything under her domain on guard.

She prefers to conduct a guessing game. Can I keep that blue jay from stealing my nest? wonders the worried female cardinal just laying her eggs. Maybe I could use that nest to lay my eggs, the tired female blue jay thinks, searching for a suitable place to land. It is survival of the fittest, and Mother Nature is cruel. She’s tough, demanding disorderly progressions in spring. Because she knows once summer comes, both flora and fauna – anyone who’s survived the spring grows strong.

There is an inevitable harmony in the summer solstice. That’s the easy part. But it’s the getting there that counts. Spring brings chaos and uncertainty, discordant notes and solo acts whose timing may be all off. It’s meant to make us fit and able. Any good mother wants her children fit and able for the times to come. It’s the law of nature.”

 

 

Bitter Cold

MOTHER NATURE

snowy-road

The weather outside is frightful. Oops, those are lyrics from a popular holiday song. Let me start again. The weather outside is hateful…no, the weather outside is unbearable…no, it’s horrible…no. Let’s start all over. The weather outside is exactly what it should be for winter in northern climes. It’s difficult. It’s cold, frigid, frosty, snowy, icy, windy, freezing. My character Glory in PERSEPHONE IN HELL is somewhat more eloquent than I in her thoughts about winter. She’s hitchhiking her way to school, just got picked up by a trucker who is very pleased to host this gorgeous teenage girl in his truck.

“I’m so damn cold. Will spring never come? She closed her eyes, willing Persephone, the goddess of spring, to arise from the dead. Nothing happened.

Should know better than to trust in the gods. Maybe I’ll thumb my way to Florida.

Her fingers moved up and down her frigid skin, trying to create some heat. The trucker’s hand left the steering wheel and inched across the vinyl seat toward her. “It’s like ice in here,” he said softly so as not to disturb her reverie. “I can help with that.”

Glory gave up on the gods for the moment and stared out the steamed up window. She counted the side streets they slowly passed – Forest Street, Chestnut Street, Spring Hill Lane. Such vernal, innocent places, green and natural. Merry and naked, nothing like winter; no snow drifts ever on Spring Hill.”

Ah, just the thought of the idyllic Spring Hill makes me wish I could thumb my way to somewhere else. Anywhere else. A place where Mother Nature reveals her softer side on a more regular basis. Where ice is mostly associated with cream, and cold with beer. Where a young girl can walk to school past inviting green lawns. Where truckers drive on by and no one misses them. Where cool, invigorating winds come to visit but don’t stay long. Where without the crushing weight of a hard bitter cold, the spirit can float free.