Standing in this spot six months ago
you could hardly remember
that the bleak and frozen landscape
could give rise to this,
to trees luxuriant with leaves
and seeds, to velvety grass,
to a field of tasseled corn,
to moist warm air, filled
with birdsong and the fragrance
of summer. And now,
standing in this spot,
it’s hard to imagine
that in a handful of weeks
it will again return to sleep
beneath heaped blankets
of shimmering snow.
It’s not like you flip a switch and here it is,
full-blown, with lush greens, tulips in blossom.
Spring is more subtle than that, refined,
you might say. She glides in slowly,
sometimes mild and sunny, sometimes
cloaked in rain and snow. But her light
proclaims what her weather may not say,
and new birds were singing at her dawn.
Keep faith. These are but her first hours.
Spring has miracles up her sleeve.
Like a signature quickly fading,
One last curve of snow lines the road.
One last layer of ice floats on the lake.
The winter-bleached fields wait for the plow.
The transition feels seamless, a gradual flowing
of seasons, one into another. And yet, in this moment,
a robin’s call marks the long winter silence
with its alert: something new comes.
Even the lakes are thawing now.
Spring’s victory carves its V in the melting ice.
The first mourning doves sit on the wire,
and at the wetlands, the ribbon neck ducks
have come and the red winged blackbirds.
So winter rolls up its glitter, its sheets of white,
and heads south. Farewell, season of sleep.
We are done with you and your cold.
Still, we will hold your beauty in mind’s store,
your long smooth curves and bare trees,
the fall of moonlight on shimmering snow,
the clarity of your starlight, the frost
with which you etched our windows.
You reminded us of our capacity to endure,
of our resolve in the face of challenges.
You brought us days of play and laughter
and let us rediscover the pleasures
of soft blankets and warm socks.
And so we thank you as you leave us,
and today we sing you our farewell.
Winter is a lot to undo; the earth sleeps deeply.
But the seasons begin the swing toward spring.
Now snow. Now rain. The rain beginning to win.
Beneath the snow, the living things stir.
The tapping sound of rain enters their dreams.
But again the snow falls, returning them to sleep.
Transitions happen one precious now at a time.
The seasons know what they are doing.
It seems to take forever for something to be born.
But look back on a child’s life, on a springtime,
and see how swiftly it flashed by.
Savor this day before the rain, when the snow
drapes the tree limbs with its light. Before long,
it will disappear, and the living things will hear
the rain’s tapping, and rise.
In came March, like some shaggy old lion
padding through the woods on big soft paws.
It was covered in snow, and when it shook
its mane, the snow flew everywhere,
right up to tops of the trees.
On its back, it carried great leather bags,
laden with surprises for each of the days
that it would stay. And despite the snow
the great beast smelled of springtime
and bits of green poked from its load.
It roamed the woods all day, scattering
more snow with every step, and roaring
now and then just to make its presence known.
When night fell, it curled into the whiteness,
purring in the ferocious way that lions do.
I doubted that it would sleep. It seemed
determined somehow. Despite its age
and the softness of its step, it was fierce
still and bent on proclaiming that March,
unpredictable March, was here.
It wasn’t much, as sunsets go.
Yet how eagerly my eyes fled
to its bits of pink and coral,
rare colors in this season
of brown woods and blue snow.
I held them to my heart and dreamed
of summer roses, draped
in these sweet hues.
Only after I had drunk my fill
of them did I notice the tracks
in the snow, an X and an O,
made by someone at play
and left as a kiss and hug
on the snow, because
it, too, is loved
in someone’s heart.
Someday, when we’re gathered
on some warm and welcome world
and the Earth, from which we came,
is covered in ice and snow,
and we’re remembering all we saw
that brought a thrill to our eyes,
let us remember a time
when, looking out our windows,
on a February morning, we saw
sunshine glinting off translucent ice
and thought that it was beautiful.
As advertised, the snow began just after dawn.
It fell all day, in those nearly invisible flecks
that you have to squint to see, piling on the braches
in its graceful sort of way. And even though
it’s late in the season, and many days have brought snow,
you had to acknowledge its beauty.
Your heart goes out to those for whom
the storm brought ice and loss of power,
downed trees, blocked roads, personal tragedies.
Across the globe, the news says, hurricanes struck.
But the photos of demolished homes stood
side by side with pictures of young surfers
thrilling to the enormous waves.
Every moment brings both elation and grief.
It comes with the ride. I like to think that maybe
someone warned us before we bought the ticket.
I would have come anyway, only to find
it was as advertised, and then some.
The only tale the woods can tell is the moment’s truth.
There’s no pretense here. No fabrication.
No memory or longing.
Just the sheer Isness of forest and snow:
Sunlight on tree bark, the punctuation of animal tracks
and long shadows, the call of a crow accentuating
And all of it breathing the shimmering Yes.