Thursday, April 4, 2013

This Happened Today

When I Am Among the Trees


When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness,
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.


I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.


Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, "Stay awhile."
The light flows from their branches.


And they call again, "It's simple," they say,
"and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine."
(Mary Oliver)


My eyes are quick for Spring, for the first glimmer of green under a mess of snow or concealed by the devastation of last season's once-leaves, and as April quickens I feel my eyes hunting for and preying on the newness of the world. The grass has made a valiant effort, slowly shaking aside its matted coat of brown and yellow, cautiously slipping into something more comfortable, brighter, flirtatious even. But I am impatient and the grass has not been enough. While Duncan and I have walked my gaze has prowled the uppermost branches, the highest beacons of the trees for the first glimmer of green and today, as Ken walked with Duncan at his side, I strolled slowly behind, examining each limb and finger, combing every inch of the maples and willows, the ash and cottonwoods, like I comb Duncan for ticks after a romp up my mother's mountain, my eyes hungry for a bud broken and shattered by the first swelling of an unfurling leaf.

And then, after leaving the park and turning back toward home, after stopping to check the mail and dispose of the relentless flow of coupons and junk, I saw it, a single tree, the sky bluer than blue above it, calmly but certainly bursting with buds. So I stopped and marveled as I do every year at this time, gazing as though I have never seen such a thing, as though winter had been thirty years long and green was something not witnessed since childhood. And I didn't feel foolish because this should be the only way to look at the newness of spring, of the coming of the leaves, of the blessed change of season. This should be law and the penalty should be severe for anyone who does not pause and give thanks.


Forty-two times I have lost my virginity to spring and if The Universe is willing, I will lose it forty-two times more. 

This happened today. 

1 comment:

Max Mom said...

Absolutely! Sometimes in our haste we glance over that which is most important.
Those emerald green shoots, against the backdrop of infinite space are surely a promise of all the good in the world which goes unnoticed. I, too, am patriotic to nature's flag.
We are heading towards winter but, come the middle of August, I will be searching our own 'white stinkwood' tree for those beautiful emerald buds. I know they'll never disappoint.
Happy Spring, Curt!