Saturday, March 06, 2010

The Leap in the Heart

No one can tell me today was a winter day. Phooey on the calendar, marking the vernal equinox at two weeks away. I think the Europeans have got it right, marking their changes of season such that the equinox falls at the midpoint between, in this case, winter and summer. It made immediate sense to me when I learned of this, and today is the embodiment of why.

Today, the bees are busy in the snowdrops. Snowdrops are small. You wouldn't think there was much to drink in there. But they keep at it--for a good hour now, or more: round and round again, many bees hopping from one flower to the next. The same flower is visited repeatedly by various bees - by the same bee too, for all I know. Can there be more in there? Are they forgetful, going in and coming up dry? No matter, their ritual is a wonder to witness from my spot in the sun beside them.

Oh yes, this is a spring day,for sure, and surely this ecstasy of bees dizzied by their passionate reunion with flower is proof of it. As are the flowers themselves, fresh from the earth, and the earth itself, giving way, consenting to the coming forth. It is a collaboration in beginning, renewal, birth. It is sun and cold, water and ice, dark and moonlight all conspiring in this revolution, this overturning of stillness with color, with fragrance, with spark. It is the perpetuation of life: conception, propagation, multiplication. Winter is the ultimate cutting back of all that is living, including me. And this day calls me forth, just like the bees, to hasten to the gardens, to delight in the earliest displays of the procession of splendor. The pale straw of the creeping phlox giving way to sprigs of green. Flutes of tulip leaves shaped to catch the rain when it comes. Beyond the white of the pendant snowdrops expected, the surprise of purple: crocus I had forgotten. Three the first day, then five then eight, and then two tiny clusters of yellow ones join them, with who-knows-what others or how many to follow. And that is the thing about winter here. It is just cold enough and (on a good year) snowy enough and long enough to accomplish a forgetting.

My skin greets this sun and warmth, this riotous return of bees and their drinking, with a wonder that is born of forgetting. As if by March I have grown accustomed to, made peace, reckoned with winter and all its accoutrements: cold fingers and high necks; wools and scarves and hats and the fireside thawing of the bones; deep long nights and short, harsh days with winds or temps or ice to brace against. Which is to say it lasts long enough to forget--to forget, I mean, in the skin and bones and tension of muscle--that it ever ceases, that a day like this one comes when all at once there is remembering, there is incredulous, giddy, pince moi je reve! remembering of bare bronzing feet, face, hands, of blues and reds, pinks and white, yellow and greens bursting from the dark, dead, flavorless, all-but colorless earth. And there is a leap in the heart of just the sort the return of a love you took for lost would spark. She is not dead, not gone, but here, stepping fragrant, soft, warm, alight with the promise of what's to come into your open arms. It is just like that, the moment when spring presents herself.

And it is then, in my unremarkable and sacred corner of the earth, that spring enters, commences in me a corporeal--fleshly, alongside her earthly--recreation. And once commenced, there is no stopping either one. The sleeper is awake, the yawning and stretching are underway, and the best day of all days is begun.

Hello, my love. It is so good to see you again.

dedicated to the memory of Margery Tawn


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