Almost unnoticed, pines also begin annual renewals of leaves and cones.
- A few days of much above average temperatures and a return to “normal” temperatures have transformed outdoors immensely. Bushes are in full bloom or well on their way, yellow patches sparkle on newly verdant lawns and roadsides. Birds are in full throat, even managing to occasionally drown out the leaf-blowers and lawn-mowers also just out of hibernation. People smile, children jump about happily, and all the world is an optimistic place.
- Some would wish to be nothing more than logic. Cybernicists dream of pouring themselves into cold silicon and living forever as frozen circuits. Spring days are a reminder that we are not mostly logic, but rather emotions and senses and memories and flesh and blood and none of that translates to transistors. We should glory in being who we are, which is more than we can possibly imagine, in an infinite world still perfectly suited to our needs.
Early boat traffic is now constant, but most docks remain winter empty.
- Robins are everywhere, hopping about the lawn, seeming to listen intently, pecking away. Supposedly they search for worms, even in frozen ground when they arrive a bit too early. That hardly explains their journey across vast asphalt driveways with the same rhythm. So concentrated on their task that they often ignore people until someone is right on top of them. A wonderful mark of returning spring, a certain sign that real winter has ended.
- Once upon a time I would have tried to see if my conventional wisdoms are true. What do robins really eat, where do they overwinter? Now that my curiosity is aroused, I may even take a few seconds to look up the facts. But lately my pleasure in noticing such things is not particularly enhanced by knowing more. I am content to watch and enjoy and simply rejoice that there are still wild birds with mysteries (at least to me) in the world.
Two confused ospreys, after their nest was cleared off a boat by the owner.
- Biblically, this is the day the lord has made, ee cummings called it the sun’s birthday.
- Each day is the present day, the feast day, the important day, and the only real day we experience.
Hills change hue day by day, almost hour by hour, as sap rushes about frantically waking things up.
- In conventional jargon, spring in Huntington has reached a tipping point. It is possible to imagine a late blizzard or freeze, but events like that are nearly in the category of imagining nuclear war. Under normal circumstances _ another cliché _ flowers and leaves are so far advanced that there is no going back.
- Only humans can even conceive of things like points, concepts like going forward or going back. A “tipping point” is a convenience with no actual existence, like the imaginary square root of minus one (minus one itself being another such concept.) The world just rolls on as it will, changing as it must, becoming whatever it will become, no matter what we think.
- Of course we worry, especially at our own actions. I am amazed there are still so many birds, still insects, that I can still breath the air. Humans have ruined so much, and do so at an increasing pace, and it is all too easy to understand other concepts like a “silent spring.”
- We are stuffed with concepts, and perhaps like statistics, too many concepts and facts dull us to specific instance. A million birds dying somewhere does not affect us as much as one blue jay wounded by a cat in the back yard. That intellectual gap, unfortunately, may be what destroys us and our civilization.
- Then whatever comes next, if anything, can invent their own concepts and document the tipping point that drove us into our own extinction.
Maple flowers adding to high sneezable pollen invisible in clear cool air.
- Often maple trees have begun their stately progression to full foliage by late February. After all, in much of New England the syrup season ends in mid-March, as the sap changes its nutrient levels to accommodate flowers and leaves. By April, florets usually hang thickly on trees, providing a reddish or greenish tinge to the horizon and surprising those who examine nearby overhead branches closely.
- Not this year. Even mid-April, the twigs are mostly bare and brown. There are a few indications of growth here and there, but it requires a close inspection to notice. Trees are overwhelmed, for once, by the actions nearer the ground. The surprising and varied patterns of seasonal cycles are one of the joys of having the leisure to appreciate them. I admit that in my working days, I was usually more concerned with getting somewhere than with looking around where I was. Today, I try to remember what I saw anew each day, a
nd be constantly amazed at the wealth surrounding me.
Busy robin munches away at something, or maybe just gathering for a nest. It wouldn’t answer my questions.
“Hey Sophia!” yells Brandon, racing across the playground towards another ten-year-old on the jungle gym. “Did you see that huge bird over us a minute ago?”
“Sure did. What a monster. I wonder what it was?”
“My mom says it’s an osprey _ it builds huge nests out of sticks and eats fish.”
“Raw fish? Yuck.”
“Well, if you like them you like them. We have sushi sometimes …”
“I don’t even like fish cooked,” notes Sophia authoritatively.
“My mom says an osprey is a kind of eagle.”
“Oh,” muses Sophia. “Dad showed us an old painting and told baby Carl that eagles carry away bad little boys.”
“Cool! Wouldn’t it be fun to be a bird, nothing to do all day, float around and look down at everything?”
“And if anybody bothers you,” she sticks out her tongue at Brandon, “you can just fly away.”
All day fog settles in again, preserving daffodils and tulips in cool mist.
No mover, shaker, one percent
Not three percent nor five
As rich and poor as anyone
Who knows they are alive