The winter has been quite mild, but regardless, I am very excited for Spring. The birds have been coming back, and the air is alive with their sound. There are tons of red-winged blackbirds down near the shore, trilling their song.
The seasonal changes are particularly obvious on the river. Just last week it was still frozen, except for the rapids. The quality of the light has been amazing at sunset, very glowy and diffuse, sort of magical.
The melt is allowing the earth to emerge again, spring bulbs are pushing up, the smell of composting leaves is on the air. Mud and subtle rot, spring smells. It always reminds me of Seamus Heaney’s poetry, earthy and honest, and cyclical. In “Gifts of Rain,” a river is described as
“bedding the locale / in the utterance, / reed music, an old chanter / breathing its mists / through vowels and history.”
Water is symbolic of life and blood and the flow of time and history.
Only a few days later, a lot of the ice has melted and the water has risen by about 6 inches. The birds are going crazy – crows, blackbirds, jays, cardinals, and numerous little twittering brown birds, and there is a small animal corpse rotting near the shore. It must have been frozen all winter, but now the water is alive and decomposing what winter preserved.
This morning the fog was absolutely surreal. It was floating like a big blanket, so thick that you could see it up close, swirling around like dry ice fog, probably caused by a slurry of broken-up ice rushing down the rapids and melting in the morning sun.
In the lock, the mists were gathering around the gate. It was otherworldly.
I can’t wait until the magnolias and crab apple trees start to bloom. There is a garden in the Morgan Arboretum which has numerous magnolia trees and I know it will be glorious in a few weeks. Leaf buds are already starting to come out. And I need to find some pussy willows.