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Saturday, April 26, 2008

In the Moment

[It will be immediately obvious to anyone who is anywhere in or near northern Michigan this morning that what follows was not written today. I am discovered, thanks to a cold, raw wind and leaden skies. Never mind. The mood was true yesterday and will be true again—when? Very soon!]

Oh, quick, someone, hit the pause button now! Now, with bloodroot in full bloom, trillium opening in the woods, and Dutchman’s breeches everywhere. Now, with bellwort and trout lily competing for the Shy Yellow Wildflower Queen’s crown. Now, with buds swelling in the orchards, the faintest green flush at the tops of birch trees, and myriad small flowers, inconspicuous one by one, together reddening the maple branches. Can’t we stretch this week or two into a couple of months? Why does it have to be over so soon?

Every year this season seems more miraculous to me, and I’m all the more astounded at my good fortune in being given yet another. Oh, brave new world! I’m as excited as a dog released into “The back yard!!!”

“Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again.”
--Andre Gide

Beginning all over again but enriched by memories of former springs, my heart lifts with birdsong at dawn. Exchange this for the latest political news? Later in the day, perhaps.

Here is a spring poem by Li Po, “To Tan Ch’iu,” Arthur Waley’s translation:

My friend is lodging high in the Eastern Range,
Dearly loving the beauty of valleys and hills.
At green Spring he lies in the empty woods,
And is still asleep when the sun shines on high.
A pine-tree wind dusts his sleeves and coat;
A pebbly stream cleans his heart and ears.
I envy you, who far from strife and talk
Are high-propped on a pillow of blue cloud.

Fishing Derby going on despite the cold; Wylie reading still set for 6-8 tonight at Horizon in Traverse City.


Anonymous said...

The South does spring the way we do autumn - but every now and then . . . Thanks for the Li Po, the Gide, and for the reminder that spring in "The back yard!" is not too shabby either. Alas, there is s**w in the forecast, and some of us have day jobs that are actually night jobs, and couldn't be at Horizon tonight. You'll tell us all about the reading, though - yes?

Lisa said...

Oh, yes. I always felt that way about spring in Michigan. I loved how it seemed to creep up on me so slowly, one little sign at a time - a new blossom, the lawn more lush and less matted, the smell of the earth sort of oozing out from beneath the final gray piles of snow.

Then, suddenly, it would be full blown spring and I almost regretted it. Because I so enjoyed that first flirtation with all its freshness and possiblity.

The beauty is spring returns every year for the same dance and the same flirtation. And that, alone, was worth the price of winter.

Easy for me to say, right? We're well on our way to continuous 90 degree days. I wish I could bottle some and send it to you and all those shivering buds in the orchards.

Stay warm.

P. J. Grath said...

The wind is just BEASTLY cold today, and there's no denying it. I have no desire to hike through the woods in a winter coat. Anyway, I am buried alive in reading final papers for my philosophy students, so going outside to throw a stick for Sarah to chase will only be a break from grading. As for the forecast, I don't want to hear it. I want to think that any hour the weather will change back to a caressing 70 degrees.