Spring sings surprise
white petals hold raindrops
green leaves wait their turn
View from a windowr in our living room
Because our local temperatures have mirrored the widespread hanging on of Winter, I am even more grateful than usual for the warmth of my home and plenty of books to read. But I know that 29 degrees and wind and rain are minor compared to severe cold,snow and ice elsewhere, I am also grateful I don’t need to shovel snow and drive in those hazardous conditions. I know that Spring is around the corner – but I was still smiling in surprise when I saw this redbud tree in full bloom as my husband drove me to the surgery center 2 weeks ago. When we returned this week so I could have sutures removed, I asked him to go the same way so I could look for the tree. There it was, on a corner where we could stop for a quick photograph.
I am thankful for windows, and for vision to see through them to beyond my immediate surroundings. But these would not be enough if I did not pay attention to them. At this very moment, I am in a room with windows but the blinds are closed. By paying attention, I hear not just one but many birds warbling and calling. It is still and there is no sound of rain beating down or wind tossing branches so I know the storm that ushered in this latest cold front has moved on. I am reminded again that being aware and giving attention to my surroundings provide windows and views as well. And I am aware of stirrings within me. There are also seasons of the soul. I welcome Springtime..
vine tendrils curl
swelling pea pods full of green promise
I seem to never be able to plant sugar snap peas early enough to allow a hearty harvest. Here on the South Texas Gulf coast, it is probably over ambitious to try, particularly with our rare late freezes this year. By the time the vines were barely flourishing, Spring had jump-started Summer so they stopped blooming and started to wilt.
Still, the few sweet pea pods we collected were used to grace salads. Some of them never made it to the kitchen since my granddaughters like to pop them into their mouths straight from the vine. As is often the case, less can be more. Because there were not many, we noticed and celebrated the few! I am praying to remember this lesson: Pay attention to what I have rather than mourning what I don’t..
I cannot count how many different greens appear in Springtime.
There is a blush of green on the trees covered with tiny buds trying to open
The changing green as leaves unfurl and fill branches of oak and elm
Sprouting snap peas, lettuces, and fledgling tomatoes are not the same color
Herbs have a whole palette of green of their own: sage, parsley, oregano, chives
Feathery dill and fennel, each uniquely green
All beginning again
All fresh and new
Every green an alleluia,
“Nature offers us a thousand simple pleasers – plays of light and color, fragrance in the air, the sun’s warmth on skin and muscle, the audible rhythm of life’s stir and push- for the price of merely paying attention. What joy! But how unwilling or unable many of us are to pay this price in an age when manufactured sources of stimulation and pleasure are everywhere at hand. For me, enjoying nature’s pleasures takes conscious choice, a choice to slow down to seed time or rock time, to still the clamoring ego, to set aside plans and busyness, and to simply to be present in my body, to offer myself up.”
— Lorraine Anderson
The patch of wood fern under our Meyer lemon tree never completely dies back in a mild winter like last year’s season. Even so, brown scraggly branches and twiggy stems look untidy and we need to cut it down. That part of the garden looks bald and bereft for awhile, but without fail, fresh fronds begin to push their way up and begin unfurling. I sometimes wish I could do time lapse photography to capture this annual rebirth. Suddenly, what seemed hopelessly ugly last week blooms green!
pushing through darkness, reaching for light
fronds a dozen shades of green
unroll like little scrolls
what does it feel like to leaf out?
Lessons on My Porch in April
red bird perches on weathered gate
watching his mate rustling rose canes
scarlet winged guardian with black mask,
he protects her blushed brown plumage,
has hunted seeds for their courtship
to feed her, bright beak to bright beak
they teach me cardinal rules:
mate for life, travel together,
watch for danger, listen to warnings
find each other when it grows dark
sing songs for each other
twig woven to twig
note woven to note
labor on feathered loom
“Sweetly breathing , vernal air,
That with kind warmth doth repair
Winter’s ruins; from whose breast
All the gums and spice of the East
Borrow their perfumes; whose eye
Gilds the morn, and clears the sky.”
When I read that Thomas Carew wrote this in the 17th century, I liked thinking how throughout time Spring has brought gladness and gratitude to men’s hearts. I grew up in Northeast Texas where Redbud trees are among the first signs of Spring. I have one planted in my front yard here, and I always watch for those first purplish buds to swell – sign of resurrection, of new life, promise of the greening to come.