Haha! Just look at you, there,
opening your arms to the light.
I have been longing to see you,
you, so suddenly tall, breathing the sun,
brave rising green thing of springtime.
Just look at your joy, look at you
singing victory over winter’s long sleep,
over the desolation of brown and gray.
Oh wee one, who will burst into yellow
summer flowers, welcome! Welcome!
Just look at you there!
I brought the apples home and, without a thought,
set them in the crystal bowl atop the kitchen table.
(How casually we take life’s miracles for granted.)
But today, perhaps because we are on the verge
of spring, when I reached for one, suddenly
visions of pink blossoms soft against blue sky
filled my mind, and rows and rows of apple trees.
I held the firm cool globe in my hand, aware
that inside it were sleek brown seeds,
each holding the pattern and possibility of a tree
that could birth a thousand apples, each bearing
seeds of its own. And as my teeth pierced
its skin, releasing its sweet juice to dance
on my tongue, I couldn’t help but think
how gracious the Yes, how abundant the gifts.
Except for the edges of the shaded north slopes
and the deep woods in the hollows, the snow is gone.
In its place, a mat of soggy leaves covers the ground.
But more is happening here than meets the eye.
Stand still and you can feel it breathing.
This is the last of its great inhalation, the pulling
back of its bow. And behind the rain and beneath
the mists, miracles are preparing to leap
onto the scene, astounding us.
Now come the rains, the cleansing rains,
softening the soil, rousing the waking seeds.
Let the shoots rise. Let the buds release
their leaves and flowers. Let the sun
unfurl its rainbows in the fresh, blue sky.
Now come the rains, the singing rains,
gliding down the tree trunks, piling
puddles in the streets, filling lakes,
feeding ponds, washing winter’s sleep
from the world’s eyes. And all the while
singing its life-giving song.
Now come the rains. Give thanks
and let your heart rise in gladness
for the advent of Spring, for the
cleansing, softening, greening rain,
and for its gentle, joyous song.
Overnight, the maple’s red buds burst,
freeing its tiny leaves to reach for the sky,
etching a scarlet lace against the deep blue
where days ago, there were but bare twigs.
And from one of the high branches, a call
sounded forth, clear and high, a single note
followed by a pause and then repeated.
From across the way, an answer came,
filling the pauses, and waiting for a reply.
Back and forth the two birds called
to one another, as if their sole mission
was to mark the opening of the buds,
and their song went on and on.
March’s lion, under cover of fog, slunk into the hills.
Some thought him gone. The frosty cold had vanished
and patches of brown earth were overtaking the snow.
At noon, a V of geese flew over the field, headed
for the wetlands to the north. And for the first time
this season, I saw robins in the wild cherry tree.
I drove to the bridge by the horse ring to see
how the creek at Brady’s Run was faring now.
It churned wildly, full of melting snow, as it raced
down the fog-draped hills. And standing above it
on the bridge, I heard the lion’s lingering roar
riding the waters chanting his power song.
The squirrel munches away on the corn
that my neighbor put out for him,
as she had all winter, his nose twitching
as he sniffs the uncommonly warm air.
He knows what’s coming next, and it’s more
than rain and leaves. It’s the reason why
he breathes. It’s the spark that lights
his fire, the thing that puts the spring
into his leap. It’s the birds and the bees
and the girls in the trees. And he smells
it in the air, right around the corner.
It doesn’t matter that snow is still heaped
a foot deep along its banks. The creek is running.
And I heard new notes in the morning chorus
when I stepped outside my door – light,
melodious songs floating like a descant
above the calls of the cardinals and jays.
And those aren’t the only signs.
At the edge of the road, skirting the puddles
of melting snow, a jogger runs, jacketless,
bare elbows pumping, a smile on his face
as he lopes past a vanishing snowman.
The tips of maple branches fatten and
taps and buckets catch their rising sap.
Eleven days, says the calendar, until
the welcome is official. But today
Spring’s first heralds have appeared,
and we greet them with glee, like a man
suddenly released from a prison.
Sploosh! Now there’s a sure sign of spring:
Car tires swishing through puddles on the road,
spraying the sooty heaps of snow into oblivion.
And the puddles themselves, mirroring the trees,
reflecting the ever-changing sky and clouds.
Yes. There’s no stopping it now, come what may.
Why, I can almost hear the peepers singing.
It won’t be long. It won’t be long.
If you could dance your way
to the heart of sun,
or step into a portal
that led you to any star,
I imagine the light that you’d see
would be colored in the hues
that paint the sky tonight.
I imagine you would travel
on music played by artisans
who drew their sounds
from the soul songs of angels.
And I think that glistening crystals
that looked like the year’s
first snow would shimmer
all around you, ringing chimes.
But most of all, I think that you
would find yourself enveloped
in tenderness unlike any
that you’ve ever known.
And you would understand
that what your innermost heart
has always known is true:
You are cherished and deeply loved.