do I love thee, let me count the ways," Elizabeth Barrett Browning famously said.
Well, when it comes to spring it’s hard to count the ways and the
different voices that have been raised in its praise.
lovers alike romanticize spring, so it’s befitting that April not only
ushers in the season but is also the month to honor poetry. Again and
again over the ages, poets have tried to capture that special essence
that defines spring, to express in words its miracle.
13th-century Persian poet, described the season as full of "Giddiness".
In spring he said, "Don’t open the door to the study and begin reading.
Take down a musical instrument."
April, Edna St Vincent Millay
tells us, "comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers … The
sun is hot on my neck… The smell of
the earth is good." And Gerard Manley Hopkins lifted his pen and voice
to say, "Nothing is so beautiful as spring- When weeds, in wheels, shoot
long and lovely and lush…"
Spring in Vermont, a friend of mine
says, is about optimism. But the end of March this year tested my
optimism – and my faith. I waited for warmth. I longed for the early
tree buds and the serenade of birdsong.
arrived on March 20th. Yet here in the North Country we celebrated not
with daisy chains but in a shower of snowflakes. The cold lingered on
and on until almost the end of the month. But now at last the snow gods
are curling up to sleep and wood nymphs dance again in the valley.
optimistic in April really is about holding on, knowing green will
return and having the faith to envision it. Faith, what the Bible calls
the evidence of things not seen, and hope, that intangible mystery Emily
Dickinson described as "the thing with feathers that perches in the
soul, and sings the tune without words, and never stops at all."
and faith are for me what spring represents best. It’s the magic of
spring, and no one describes it better than word magician ee
cummings, who wrote …"in Just-spring … the world is mud-luscious…"
School boys, he says, are shooting marbles and playing pirate. Girls
are dancing hopscotch and skipping rope. You can tell, cummings
concludes, that it’s just-spring and "… the world is puddle-wonderful"
now in Vermont it’s "justspring". The sap is flowing, the world is
greening. Winter has huffed its last huff and warmth curls us in a bear
hug. Hope in full bloom, in "justspring", in Vermont.