Then the explosion.
In the night, the wind would go around to the south. It was a soft wind, moving the tops of the bare trees, but not giving the deathly cold rattle of winter to the branches. In the morning, put your feet out of bed, and the floor was warmer than it had been for months. Go outside and there were new sounds. First, a faint, rustling restless sound, always familiar, always half forgotten, always a new discovery. It was the sound of running water, a thousand trickles on all sides as the melting snow began to form streams, seeking lower ground, beginning a journey to the far-off sea. - Ben Logan “The Land Remembers”
Ostara, spring equinox.
Always, it seems to come in the night - that reversal in the wind. Banshee wail or gentle sigh - either, or both, but it smells wet and fresh. Mud, earthworms, snow melt. We step outside, lift our faces, breathe it in and feel the cobwebs clearing.
Life. It’s happening all around us. Grass greening, pussy willows budding. That incredible cacophony of morning birdsong in the yard. And it seems possible, doesn’t it, that everything we’ve heard is true? Life doesn’t end at all, because here it is. Again, and always. Reshaping the landscape of the hill and the creek, our faces, our minds. Rolling, rushing forward.
Witchy folk believe in the thinning of the veil at Samhain, but I feel angels in April. I think, if I could see them, they’d have their hands in the dirt, tilling and planting. Lift the soil to the face, smell of it. Pinch the seed between weathered fingers, plug it into the warm and waiting earth, and understand, all over again, how life goes on.
I like to think, too, of Mary Magdalene at the tomb while she ran the gamut from sorrow to disbelief -and then to joy, lighting her face, bubbling from her lips. Life. Life after death, the path made clear, the message resounding enough to have echoed through the generations all the way to us.
Just a blink in eternity, and here we are.
And it’s spring again.
Deep breaths, mindfulness. The touch of sun on your face and the wind’s fingers in your hair. Life isn’t only good, it goes on.
Today I drank from the spring cup - an action which sounds mundane enough, but, let me assure you, has real repercussions in my personal life. Choosing the spring cup when the outdoor temp is thirty-five degrees Celsius and the indoor environment is damp with Lysol and flu, is an act of actual courage. It is, indeed, choosing to hope.
Of course, the spring cup is one of four. They’re coffee cups, Norman Rockwells, and duplicates of the set I had when I first moved away from home. Each has a depiction of a season and a boy with his dog – you’ve seen this, right? - and in the spring, the boy is already barefooted. He’s pouring cough syrup for the poor little dog, who has his head covered and is sad-eyed with the flu. Yes, like the rest of us.
Possibly because I’m a farmer’s daughter, I find myself extremely affected by the seasons, and I tend to mold my life around them. I read books, choose music and socks and movies, all according to the time of year, and it’s always felt to me as though, by doing so, I exert just the teensiest bit of authority over that which cannot be controlled.
Ah Lord, how we’ve longed for spring this year! So long, now, since the snow felt magical or the cold invigorating. No, we’ve descended into this quagmire of germs, mud and discontent. Apathetic, lethargic, peaked, we cry at home and squabble on facebook.
Hope is the color of Springtime, the shimmery, lacy green lighting the hillside all the way to the top.
Does anyone choose their room color according to season? She sat on the floor in the middle of her decimated dining room and thought how it didn’t matter what anyone else did. Nobody existing on her budget should be drinking twenty-dollar mail-order coffee, either, but here she was, consuming it daily by the gallon. Because, well, coffee.
But back to the dining room.
Or, rather the ruin of the dining room and its much-anticipated rebirth.
The room caught the light, which was both its saving grace and its undoing. Because, while the sunlight polished the piano and glowed in the cupboard glass, it also highlighted the water stains in the old wood floor and the dismal condition of the ancient paneling.
And she could have lived with that, but the same sunlight warmed the outside walls and drew the snakes, who nested in the hollow spaces between the studs and sometimes dropped out where the paneling gapped.
A thousand memories fisted together into a big tinsel ball that smells of evergreen, cinnamon, and life. Marvel the Mustang! I must’ve been, what? Four or five? I never forgot the moment, the joy, of unwrapping that gift. I rode that silly toy all the way to the corner – a quarter mile away - in the snow.
Midnight mass, Mom in her long fur coat. She sang . . . well, yes, like an angel. That voice issued from that small person like Gabriel himself commandeered her soul and everybody in the church went still to listen, and to stand in awe.
The year of the pink Barbie Cadillac, the year of the flu, the year of the lost Christmas tree.
But here – there is this, and this is, after all, what I need to write about.
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