The afternoon is moist and drenched with the fragrance of lilacs,
and low clouds hang in sky. The world feels dreamlike,
its colors muted, its birdsong subdued. Rainstorms are coming,
but not until nightfall. You can feel their approach in the air.
And something else, too, is approaching, but you can’t say what.
All you can do is stand there, still, waiting, watching.
From the corner of your eye, you catch a movement,
a dark, darting streak and you turn your head to see, there,
on the peony leaves, a damsel fly, the year’s first, its tail
an iridescent turquoise and blue, its sheer wings black
in the day’s low light. It seems a sign somehow,
a signal that magic is afoot. Quick! Make a wish!
Ask to hold onto this moment forever.
I stand in the deep vegetation at the creek’s edge
stunned by the countless shades of green
and by the tangled lushness of it all.
A mere six weeks ago, I was hunting
for the first wild flower, hoping one had poked up
through the still brown and matted grass.
And look now, what the spring has wrought
in what feels like a blink of my awestruck eyes.
God, I love May! How could You write Your Yes
more clearly? How could one see this
and doubt Your being!
As far as the ferns are concerned,
they stand in the center of world,
their roots in the earth, their tips
reaching to the stars, and everything
else radiating out from this core place
where they have their being.
They know, of course, that everything
else has a story all its own, with itself
as the center, the ferns playing only
a part, perhaps a significant one,
perhaps not. That doesn’t lessen
their awareness of their own place.
It simply leads them to suspect
that, somehow, all centers converge.
Whatever the truth, they trust
that things are as they should be.
So they hold to their own centers,
spread their fronds and dance.
It doesn’t matter that you grow in a tangle of weeds
or that you’re hidden in some corner where few ever pass.
You’re still exactly where you were destined to be,
where you were meant to unfurl your colors,
where you were needed to sing your song.
The sunbeams will still find you, the stars
will light your nights. Soft rains will come
to quench your thirst and refresh you.
And when you least expect them, friends
will appear who see your strength and beauty.
Through your petals and leaves and stems, life
extends its blessings to the world.
So blossom and dance, little child of the Yes,
and hear the wind whisper that you’re seen
and known, that you’re cherished and dearly loved.
Look what she’s done now!
As if the crocuses and tulips,
the daffodils, violets and speedwells
weren’t enough, as if we weren’t already
overwhelmed with the magnolias and the
blossoming of apple trees, cherry and pear,
now May spreads the field with wild phlox
and red poppies. Every day she tosses
new garlands from her basket, laughing
her love songs, whispering Happy Birthday
to the earth. Such limitless generosity!
And all we can do is marvel and be glad.
Hey, little lemon drop, today I learned your name,
your ‘official’ one, the one with which some botanist
christened you long, long ago. It’s useful, I suppose,
to someone who wants to know your lineage,
who your cousins are, where you thrive and when
you bloom. Knowing your name, people can find out
all about you. You’re a Celandine Poppy, they say.
And now that I know it, I could tell my friends,
“The celandine poppies are covering the hill,”
impressing them that I know such an esoteric name.
But to tell you the truth, because we’re such friends
I’ll still think of you as a lemon drop. It suits you so,
with your bright color, and it makes my mouth water
with childhood memories of a tart, sweet candy
that I loved as much as I love you.
Yes, the salmon quince is in bloom,
another confirmation of spring’s constancy,
the reappearance of an old friend
who blossoms her hello to me each and every year
without fail. So it’s been for a quarter century now,
and she was already grown
and in full flower when I met her.
I raise my water bottle in a toast.
“To you, fine old friend,” I say aloud,
and she nods in the gentle May breeze,
her coral skirts flared, her yellow stamens
raised to the sun. Then we both stand
silently for a moment, breathing in
each other’s joy, satisfied and glad.
All of this – leaves, grasses, ferns –
all of this from frozen soil, just because
our little globe tipped and spun precisely
in its dance around our star. All of this!
Flowers and birds, baby rabbits and raccoons,
young fawns, ants, butterflies, frogs and,
no doubt, fairies, leaping into a world
drenched now in amazing green. Tell me
again that it’s all accidental. I will stand
here with the laughing ferns and smile.