Spring

“There is only one question:
how to love this world.”-Mary Oliver

In March there were no snow days or school breaks.  The cold bore down, the snow remained deep–but the days got longer and lighter.  Peter and I stayed busy.  I began running with Peter after school and went to a weekend workshop on food security.  Peter started studying to renew his Wilderness First Responder certification and began working at the creamery where he lives (in addition to his job making soups at Rising Tide co-op.) One weekend Peter and I went to Bangor to visit his aunt and uncle.  One weekend we celebrated our first Maine Maple Sunday.  The days slipped by.

There’s something surprising about the first warm day of spring.  Today the temperature soared to sixty degrees and my students found crocus shoots under the snow.  When I got home from work, my landlords were sitting in plastic chairs on the lawn drinking beer, listening to spring peepers calling in the pond, and watching wild turkeys trotting up the road.  Their dog Suzy rolled on the damp ground and pawed at a sunflower trestle that had recently surfaced out of the melting snow.

The cultivation of hope feels so natural during this season of emerging soil, when trees bud and the smell of earth rises out of the melting snow.  We celebrate rebirth and renewal: spring equinox, running sap, and Easter Sunday.  We begin to believe that we can plant ourselves in something solid and strong.  We look with reverence to the soil–the richness of melting snow, warmed by the early spring sun.

I know next week there’s snow in the forecast so I’m trying to grasp onto the warmth of this afternoon.  I’m hoping that when the temperature drops again I can continue to kindle dreams of fireflies and hummingbirds, crickets and morel mushrooms, wild strawberries and moon-drenched nights warm enough to sit beside the pond with a beer.  Summer is coming–and no matter how busy my life gets, no matter how bogged down with work and wedding plans I become, no matter how much it snows next week–the earth still tilts more toward the sun with each day that passes.

Spring

by Mary Oliver

Somewhere
a black bear
has just risen from sleep
and is staring

down the mountain.
All night
in the brisk and shallow restlessness
of early spring

I think of her,
her four black fists
flicking the gravel,
her tongue

like a red fire
touching the grass,
the cold water.
There is only one question:

how to love this world.
I think of her
rising
like a black and leafy ledge

to sharpen her claws against
the silence
of the trees.
Whatever else

my life is
with its poems
and its music
and its glass cities,

it is also this dazzling darkness
coming
down the mountain,
breathing and tasting;

all day I think of her—
her white teeth,
her wordlessness,
her perfect love.

Peter and the goats

Peter and the goats

The kids are trying to nibble on Peter's hair

The kids are trying to nibble on Peter’s hair

Muggle--a kid from Vermont, recently purchased by Peter's landlord Jessie

Muggle–a kid from Vermont, recently purchased by Peter’s landlord Jessie

Spring greeting

Spring greeting

Friends

Friends

Andre smells spring

Andre smells spring

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