Spring arrived exactly on time, to
the day, here in coastal Virginia and, according to forecasts, continues through Saturday. Then
temperatures fall again. Tuesday there could even be snow.
But the good news is we got to try
out our fledgling spring wings for three whole days. That’s a decent practice
session. Already my pale white man’s face and hands are turning ruddy and brown
Thanks to the weather, I’ve also
gotten out of myself more. I started cultivating my garden, stripping it down
for spring plantings. (Not yet, though. Too soon.) Friday I took a long bike
ride and stopped for a swim at Northside Pool. I saw green buds on some of the
And a mocking bird has moved into
our woods! I think it’s the first to nest there in all the seven years we’ve
lived here. We always had them in the bay oaks around our cottage at the beach.
They give me so much pleasure, listening to their concerts of voices.
We haven’t seen much of the coons. I
think they come around late at night. They’re a different bunch from last year,
when they came right up to the door in broad daylight to beg. One of our cats,
Spook, is familiar with them. She goes her way and they go theirs. No problems.
It’s amazing to me how much wild
life there is around us at the edge of this scruffy woods—what’s left of
once-verdant wet lands. For instance, when I go out to toss bird seed on our
strip of back yard between the house and the woods, I hear the birds gathering
in the trees. I can’t see them. They’re concealed in dense thickets of vines
entangled throughout the branches high above me. But the trills, whistles, and
chirps among themselves as more and more voices join in...!
I have a fantasy—engendered, I
think, in my early exposure to Walt Disney. I imagine myself in a clearing in a
wood, sitting on a stump with all the different creatures of Nature gathered
around to tell me their stories and hear mine. I can’t explain the fantasy
except that it’s another
way of saying there’s magic in the woods that can’t be explained by either
science or religion. A magic more powerful than either.
This is far afield from what I
thought I’d write about at this point in my Lenten Diary. I thought I’d linger
longer on spirituality and mystery. But I realize now there is no greater
mystery or more tangible spiritual reality than what happens on our Earth in
the spring every year.
If something like climate change,
for instance, were to wipe out or permanently alter that progression of seasons—upon
which all our myths of culture and religion are based—what will we believe in
then? What mythology could serve as a model for civilization if there were no spring, no
season of rebirth after a season of death, as we have always known things to
All that we hold dear depends on our
planet staying as friendly as she always has throughout our human history. And
who among us can control that?
I’m just grateful that spring this
year, though chilly and often inclement, is definitely coming on. Whatever
surprises lie ahead will have to wait their turn.