Thursday, March 31, 2011

Will Spring Ever Come?

Icicles cling to the pines on the last day of March, 2011. "Out Like A Lion" this year, winter still resides in the high country of Pennsylvania in the waning days of March. The nightly news warns of a Nor'easter for the east coast of the US, with up to two feet of snow expected in New England on April 1st. We will get a taste of that here, too. We are all April's Fools this year!

More disturbing is the radiation being discovered in milk, in the air and in the ground. Its unique signature, Iodine 131, reveals that it blew in from Japan, fell on the countryside and was consumed by cows. Humans are at the end of the food chain, so this poses a 'tip-of-the-iceberg' problem for America and ultimately for the rest of the world.

The fight for freedom escalates in the Middle East with the struggle in Libya keeping us riveted to the talking heads. That part of the world seems so far away, but we are inexorably tied to them by our insatiable thirst for oil. Do we really care about the terrorized people there, or is it the price per gallon of gasoline that gives this such worrisome prominence on our news?

Here in the high valleys, the snowmelt reveals bare, frozen ground. The sun gives the illusion of warmth and the promise of greening grass. We wait, our pale faces turned towards the bright, cold sunlight. The landscape resembles a desert, despite plentiful moisture. It is the grip of cold that will not allow the warmth to seep into the ground, into our winter-weary bones.

We busy ourselves with the ritual repairs of spring; nailing up the sagging gutters, rolling out the deep ruts made by the snowplow in the soft berm of the lane, replacing the lagging solar tracker motor loosened by the incessant buffeting of the winds, replanting the grass seed that didn't grow when we planted it too late last fall. We fuss over the tender eggplant and tomato seedlings that will bear the succulent veggie fruits of summer. It's too early yet to bring out the patio furniture, the chairs where we will sit and bask in the summer sun, the tables where we will dine alfresco on grilled delicacies and fresh produce.

We make plans for the next warm day. We should think about bringing out the planters; think about giving them a good scrub and filling them with soil in preparation for the flowers we will grow. We get out the push-broom and brush the muddy dog prints from the walkways, sweep up the falling pin oak leaves where the swirling wind has heaped them into piles in the sheltered corners of the house.The barn cats sit hunched on the picnic table, taking shelter from the biting west winds, alert for a brave chipmunk, vole or field mouse to venture close enough to provide them with fresh meat. We all wait patiently for spring.


  1. Long Winter

    by Tim Nolan

    So much I've forgotten
    the grass

    the birds
    the close insects

    the shoot—the drip—
    the spray of the sprinkler

    the heat of the Sun

    the impossible

    the flush of your face
    so much

    the high noon
    the high grass

    the patio ice cubes
    the barbeque

    the buzz of them—
    the insects

    the weeds—the dear
    weeds—that grow

    like alien life forms—
    all Dr. Suessy and odd—

    here we go again¬—
    we are turning around

    again—this will all
    happen over again—

    and again—it will—

    "Long Winter" by Timothy J. Nolan.

    from jtb

  2. Very well written Max. I felt your pain, but inexplicably long to share it with you. I love cold weather. I love rain. I think I feel this way because I can remember so clearly how it feels when it's gone. I'm happy just anticipating. I remember winters reading all those seed catalogues and sketching my gardens. I had 14 of them when I left Virginia. All defined, enclosed, and named. We have no fall, no winter, no spring. Just warm, warmer, hot and hotter. What does snow look like? I can't remember.

    This won't make sense to you, but I envy every moment of your bad weather. And I'm not the only only in Florida who feels this way. Especially those of us who are transplants. Do you knit? Patsye

  3. Aww, thanks Thomas for the Tim Nolan poem. Living in Minnesota, he can surely sympathize with us here in western PA. Their weather has been as bereft of warmth as has ours this year. I love that you took the time to copy it as your comment (smile). Thanks for reading my blog, and for being my friend....

  4. Patsye, dear! You can come share the cold weather here anytime you wish, though it is much nicer here in the warm weather times. The cold turns your spine into a steel rod and sets your teeth to chattering, your eyes to watering and your nose to bleeding! Cracked fingers, sloughing skin, even the dog's feet are chapped! But the anticipation of the three warm seasons of the year is almost worth a winter of suffering, for how else are we to appreciate something than by being deprived of it?

    In answer to your question, I do not knit. However, I do write. . . . Max