Spring is like a perhaps hand
(which comes carefully
out of Nowhere)arranging
a window,into which people look(while
arranging and changing placing
carefully there a strange
thing and a known thing here)and
changing everything carefully
spring is like a perhaps
Hand in a window
and fro moving New and
people stare carefully
moving a perhaps
fraction of flower here placing
an inch of air there)and
without breaking anything.
Last night I painted at a rare Sunday evening wedding on a rare chilly evening in April in New Orleans. The truth is, it doesn’t feel much like Spring when I still have to defrost my feet with the heater on high in my car after a night outdoors. Since the ceremony took place just few feet away from the reception, I got to watch the whole thing, which included a reading of the popular ee cummings poem “I carry your heart with me,” and I shed the subtle, nearly unnoticeable tears that visit me at every wedding.
This morning I had another ee cummings poem on my mind, the one that starts this post. Despite the uncharacteristic temperatures lately, I’m watching Spring make its presence known in even my neglected garden. Last April I borrowed my dad’s truck, drove down to Folsom and bought more wholesale plants for my yard than I was prepared to handle. The harsh winter (including did-pigs-just-fly snow) didn’t damage as many of them as I thought. But there were some, brown and shriveled I’d planted around the Sycamore in my front yard. Those looked dead. Brown. Shriveled. Shadows of their former selves. I nearly pulled them up and tossed them in the trash, but I decided to wait for something I was certain wouldn’t come.
It happened slowly. A green sprout here and there but eventually the brown all but disappeared and my sturdy Sycamore is surrounded by little green adoring fans.
I’m not much of a gardener (though I’d like to be one day), and I was both delighted and surprised by this. Even my knockout roses, which I’d try to protect from the snow with my painting drop cloths overnight but kind of smushed and crushed instead, have come back with more buds, brighter than ever. My grandmother asked me the other day how I got my roses to look so good. I had no idea. The looked good despite me and certainly not because of me. She then, with all the wisdom of her ninety-one years, said “looks like sometimes a good freeze will do them some good.”
I have often found nature reassuring– even long winters are just a season among several. Spring, inevitably and without my help or hand comes. It’s just a season too, sure. But I, for now, am in awe of it. And when I get overwhelmed, I remember Spring, the spring that, not once, has ever decided to just not show up.
I’ll be showing my recent Spring-inspired paintings at The Big Easel this Saturday in Lafayette. Any left will be available on my site afterwards.