One thing about April, she lived up to her legend.
She brought in the rains for the flowers of May,
and scattered bouquets of her own, rainbows
of blossoms and myriads of leaves that painted
lacy patterns against her cloud-swept skies.
She teased us with warm breezes and swept
away the last vestiges of winter’s snow.
She whispered life into the earth’s frozen veins
and sang sweet songs of waking to us all.
And now, beneath soft clouds of pearl,
she slips away, carrying with her our thanks
and heart-felt joys and farewells.
Back in the old days, people knew
how to recognize medicine on sight.
When a child brought tiny blue flowers
to her mother, the mother would say,
“Oh! Speedwells! Aren’t they sweet?
And did you know they make delicious tea
and that they will cure what ails you?”
And then child would lead the mother
to the patch where the speedwell grew,
and they would dig little clumps of it
it with delight, the mother telling
all the ailments it was known to cure:
cough, rough breathing, hurting skin,
rheumatism, tummy aches and more.
And at home, they would brew some tea,
smiling as they slowly sipped it,
and some would go in a labeled bottle,
an elixir to soothe you and restore
you to health. And they would place
some of the little plants in the garden
where the sight of them alone
was enough to brighten your day.
Right at the edge of the pine woods
a wild forsythia grows, and today
it’s in full bloom, its yellow blossoms
tumbling giddily down its branches,
its new leaves saluting the sun.
It is, I suppose an ordinary sight,
given that it’s spring and flowers
are erupting everywhere, even
in dark corners such as these.
Still, it takes me by surprise—
not so much the fact that it’s there,
but that it has such power to lift
the gloom, to proclaim vibrant joy,
despite all the sorrows drenching
the world. It gives a balance
and sings promise and hope,
and I breathe in its song, buoyed
It’s not that nature’s beauty consumes me.
It’s the refuge it provides from the rest of it–
from conflicts and disasters large and small
that cover the globe; from the endless prattle
of the lonely because talking is the only way
they know to mark the world with their presence,
to connect, to find meaning; from the struggles
for survival, for status, for power, for control,
and for all the touted doodads that promise
to convey them or to provide relief from the fight.
Walk in the woods. Listen to the trees.
Observe the details in the smallest flower.
See the seasons unfold. Watch the clouds
and stars float above you. Take solace
in an order beyond our knowing, a power
and intelligence we cannot comprehend.
Feel how you are a child of it, how you move
within its omnipresent embrace, loved
even when you are asleep in it, unconscious
of its plan and grace and mercy. Wonder
at its intricacy, its obedience to inviolable laws.
Think how this is but the skin that the Yes wears,
this mysterious, ever-dancing curtain of matter.
Think how majestic is that which brought it
into being and bestowed on us our capacities
to see, to taste, to move and desire, to seek,
to find, to love, and to know.
Except that the Yes is the source of joy,
Spring needn’t have come with such beauty.
A limited pallet might have served as well,
a handful of standardized designs.
We could have as easily performed
our daily tasks without being caught
in Spring’s web of wonder, without
being stopped in our tracks to gaze
and smile at wee pink flowers
whose centers burst with polka dot stars.
But the Yes, which is made of love,
cannot help but leave its beauty
everywhere, just in case your heart
might need to hear its endless song.
“Let’s go for a ride,” my friend said.
“There’s something I want to show you.”
She hadn’t been well. I asked if she was sure,
and she insisted, smiling. So off we went,
down the winding country roads, saying
to each other, “Oh! Look!” as blossoming
cherry and magnolia trees came into view.
We drove for several miles, marveling
at calves and colts and lambs, at lawns
bright with tulips and forsythia.
“It’s right around the next bend,” she said,
nearly bursting with anticipation, then, “Look!”
Look indeed! It was as if the sun itself
had shattered into hundreds of pieces and fallen
onto the hillside, cascading to the road below.
Wild daffodils danced with irrepressible joy,
despite the cold, despite the milky sky.
We parked and stared for a while in silence.
“Aren’t they wonderful?” my friend finally said,
the flowers’ healing washing new color
into her face. “Beautiful,” I agreed.
“It’s one of those sights you remember all your life.”
The river sings Spring now,
its banks dressed in lace,
its surface laughing with sky
and greens, its depths
merry with fish, sun-warmed,
and swimming to frog-songs.
At last! At last! The quickening
has come, and joy, unleashed,
rises glad and free.
In the late afternoon, a storm blew in.
The trees, busy unfolding their leaves,
had seen storms before. They knew
what to do: Stand strong, bend with
the blows as far as you’re able.
And when it’s over, honor what
has fallen with your reverence
and thanks, letting it go.
Then, stand tall, dance in the wind,
and continue unfolding new leaves.
No promises are attached.
The ticket doesn’t come with guarantees.
All it does is let you in the door, advising
you in fine print to leave your fear behind.
Anything can happen; it’s not a ride
for the timid. And it’s wholly up to you
to choose whether to chance the risk.
You’ve heard a thousand stories.
It’s a test of everything you’ve learned.
But if you go, one day you could find yourself
dancing, tall and strong, amidst green grasses
beneath a warm sun, your body glad
and beautiful, and the heart of you
trumpeting delight at the sheer wonder
and magnificence of being. Take the leap.
What fastidious detail, each of these spring flowers.
How can there not be a Who behind their being?
And such beauty. And eyes to behold it, and hearts
to understand. All this, every bit exquisite, each detail,
from this one tender tiny grape hyacinth out beyond
the farthest star. And to think that all of it
is but one flash-like fleck eternally riding
the radiating waves amidst a brilliance of flashes,
world upon world up world. Why, you can’t
even see its beginning or its end! So I ask,
How can there not be a Who,
when all this wonder dances, in joy and awe,
through every molecule of being and through
all the spaces beyond and between and within?