First Day of Spring

People make the mistake of thinking they will wake on this day and there will have been a magical transformation, the night elves will have been hard at work vacuuming up the snow, blow drying the mud, planting crisp and shiny snow drops and firm nubs of daffodils in the ground while we all peacefully slumber and dream of sugar plum fairies, and margaritas by Caribbean waters.  And when we rub the seeds of sleep from our drowsy eyes we will step up to a window and look outside, seeing first the reflection of our bed tousled hair and then this wondrous blanket of newness on the ground, and perhaps, if we look out of the corners of our eyes, the last elf putting his finishing touches of dew drops on a bright yellow crocus.

The reality is that it wakes slowly, it needs coffee to get it going, it needs you to be awake to notice its magic is not an overnight occurrence, it needs you to be aware enough to realize that it is not all snowdrops and elves and rainbows and pots of gold, spring is sometimes downright ugly, or more accurately muddy, and sloppy and it always takes longer than the single day to happen.

There is the angle of the sun, it is warmer some how, and even with the wind bringing tears to your eyes, you can smell some minute change in it.  A 35 degree day would elicit a wool sweater in autumn, but in March, in spring, it elicits a light cardigan but you will suffer through freezing in the spring in a way you won’t in the winter.  People say the birds are back, but the birds really never leave, it is just that they are now sitting on wires and bare branches soaking up the warm sun, and singing a little louder, and singing a song of hope, its coming, they say, its coming.  And yes, now we see robins, and flocks of geese and hear red winged blackbirds.  There is still snow on the ground, but it is no longer the crisp clean snow of winter, where it truly is a magic blanket that transforms overnight.  So pretty.  No, in March it has all gone to hell.  It is brown,  black, sooty and muddy and covered in dog shit people pretended not to see happening, not wanting to take off their gloves to clean it up.  The dogs come home now covered in a layer of salt, sand and slop, a towel at the door as essential as a water bowl.  A trip to the groomers, for a bath, on the to do list.   And if you listen, you will not only hear the bird song, you will hear the sound of the water melting under the snow, under the mud, a tiny trickle of life.  I imagine on these warm melty days, a Native American listening to the spring in the hard wood forest, and putting her ear to a maple tree, and wondering, what is that?  What is that trickle?, and discovering the sweet taste of the sap did she take some home and try to make soup with it?

You wake in spring, and feel too the blood in your own body melting.  The mega doses of vitamin D, maybe not so necessary any more, and when you get home from work, you feel spring in your feet, you are tired but instead of craving soup and homemade bread and a warm blanket and a doggy cuddle by the fire, you crave a long walk outside, where your ears burn and your cheeks sting and you are smiling by the end, because, you can hear the hope in your song, it is coming.  It is coming.

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