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Henri Matisse: Olive Trees at Collioure, 1906

Not Quite Yet Spring

Following Winter Solstice,
Springs goes on the move,
heading northward at the stately rate
of almost eighteen miles per day,
an enthusiastic snail’s pace
but still well within a snail’s range.
A walking horse might make
slightly better time.

Those in Florida,
who overwinter in Spring,
hardly notice anything like change,
a dull green sameness dominating.
In more northern climes,
this time moves fitfully
with False Springs continually dominating
until nigh on to May or later.

By late April, everyone’s way past ready
for Winter to recede for good or better,
for the sake of weather forsythia prefers.
Just about then, though, another snow falls,
The wet, recidivist snow,
heavy on the shovel and the heart,
a full month after equinox
and it’s still Not Quite Yet Spring.

Each warming day reassures,
for we’re genuine suckers for Spring.
Grass deigns to start greening
and that first hint of budding appears.
We seem to cheer for the losing team
for the longest time, for hope has us then,
we ache for a friendlier season,
something we might sit with in the yard.

Your birthday comes when most needed,
before Winter’s fully receded, but retreating,
when the garden center’s opening
but still not selling much;
After Easter most years
but not yet Mother’s Day,
that point when the master gardener insists,
usually correctly, that petunias are finally safe.

I think of your presence here in this world
as a perennial harbinger of Spring,
wet with promise certain to be fulfilled,
if not yet quite ready to strut.
You hold possibility pregnant with potential
and reassuringly likely at last.
Winter’s sure and certainly past
yet still not quite ready to ease her grasp.

Especially this year
of forcefully sequestered hibernation
regardless of the promising season,
we needed reason to believe again.
Knocked to a little lower than our knees
we desperately needed to believe in Spring,
or anything capable of renewing our
beleaguered spirit. Anything!

I thought of you in lieu of
actually experiencing a long-promised Spring,
and finally felt that everything
might not be as dire as it appeared,
for Winter performs some variant
of this dance every year,
here, only a little more emphatically,
as if she would not eventually lose her grip.

You reminded me that Winter always, eventually loses,
its grasp hardly as permanent as it seems.
The smaller streams won’t notice
until their icy mantle finally leaves,
shadows complicating everything.
A curious fox started nosing around the yard,
learning the lay of this changing landscape,
coat turning red again
after the stultifying Winter grey.

Happy Belated Birthday, dear one!
Uncle David

©2020 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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