Three Quotations--and My Own Thoughts--on Spring

April is the cruelest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
-T.S. Eliot

spring is like a perhaps
hand in a window (carefully to
and fro moving New and
Old things,while
people stare carefully
moving a perhaps
fraction of flower here placing
an inch of air there)and 

without breaking anything.
-ee cummings

Thank you, Spring,
For being Nature’s version of puberty.
-Jimmy Fallon

Last week (and they say nothing happens suddenly!) white blossoms decked our neighborhood like a gaudy bridal veil. Around every corner, trees—weren’t they brown and bare just yesterday?—displayed their abundance, their fecundity, with no apology. They lined the streets almost defiantly, like pouty adolescent girls newly aware of their appeal, daring anyone to look, knowing everyone will look.

Springtime quickens the pulse. We all feel it. We turn our faces like lizards to the sun; we bask in it. We bare our shoulders and toes; we seek lighter fabrics and colors. We open windows and call to our neighbors. Our hearts thaw along with the frozen earth, and even the most cynical among us gasps at the first crocus, daffodil, purple Johnny-jump-up. The tulips in our yard always push their luck, forcing their way above-ground before the last snow falls. On many March and April mornings, I look down into the perfect green spirals of their broad leaves. The dusting of snow from the night before melts and is contained by the impeccable design of the plant. Soon, up come the blooms, nodding and smiling at the threat of frost.

No matter our faith or belief system, the Easter metaphor rings true for all of us every Spring. We cannot help but see it: resurrection and redemption bloom at our feet. And yet, as the poets remind us, Springtime is messy. It’s muddy and unpredictable and memories peek through surfaces along with vegetables in new garden beds. 

This year, I feel the quickening of Spring, but something is different. Maybe it is because I am slouching toward the end of my own fertility. Maybe it is the black skort—I usually feel compelled to match Mother Nature’s new costume with my own, and Springtime means a frantic re-working of my wardrobe to include bright colors and comfortable sandals. This year, I know it’s as simple as putting a lighter top with the same black bottom. Good to go. Ready to greet any Spring day that comes my way.

Maybe it is the space—in my closet and my brain. I feel a connection to the changing season, but I am less in tune with the wild youngness of it all. It feels more like I am connecting to something ancient, maybe even eternal. It is the turning of the wheel, the circle of life. I feel a sense of peace entering my being. It is something so vague and unknowable I cannot yet put it into words. I feel older, but more comfortable. More open, somehow. This Springtime, in all its adolescent chaotic glory, feels like cummings’ last line: nothing is broken. We are all busted-up, worse for wear. We’re all mourning and weeping in this Valley of Tears. But nothing is completely broken or lost or hopeless. We collectively feel hope a-bustin’ out all over, and we persevere. We survive. We try to recognize patterns as we recognize the changing seasons. We make different choices, change our actions and believe there is hope for all of us.

This year, Spring feels less like an explosion and more like the happy arrival of a dear old friend. The kind of friend who loves you and makes you laugh and reminds you of the person you have always been.