Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Almost there

Of no immediate practical use, but encouraging none-the-less, the Mississippi River through downtown Minneapolis is ice free. I had an early morning meeting today and, driving West River Road, I noted that the open water was basically everywhere. On the other hand, I almost put myself in the ditch a couple of times by trying to ignore how sloppy the local roads, which were clear and dry when I left early this AM, had become covered by inch or three of melting snow, with another 4 to 6 inches coming this afternoon and evening. I just love this tug-of-war season. Remember last Spring? We had record-setting 12" to 18" of snow at the beginning of May, the My Minnesota files have photos of a snow storm on April 19.

April 19, 2013 snow storm
April 19, 2013             © harrington

Basil Johnston, in his book Honor Earth Mother, makes reference to Winter Maker arranging to have Zeegwun (Spring) captured and held in a cave. Living in Minnesota makes me wonder if the story is a myth or the Ojibway equivalent of "reality TV." No indication yet that the geese are back, which doesn't surprise me. Last year they could be heard in numbers by April 1. By April 25, there was open water full of ducks and geese and gallinules galore by April 25. Be patient, Grasshopper. Spring is coming. She waits just south of the horizon until the annoying remnants of Winter return to their home beyond the North Country. When she arrives, she may be out of breath from her sudden rush. According to Gary Snyder, March in Kyoto is a lot like March in Minnesota.

ducks, geese and gallinules galore
April 25, 2013           © harrington

Gary Snyder: Kyoto, March

A few light flakes of snow
Fall in the feeble sun;
Birds sing in the cold,
A warbler by the wall. The plum
Buds tight and chill soon bloom.
The moon begins first
Fourth, a faint slice west
At nightfall. Jupiter half-way
High at the end of night-
Meditation. The dove cry
Twangs like a bow.
At dawn Mt. Hiei dusted white
On top; in the clear air
Folds of all the gullied green
Hills around the town are sharp,
Breath stings. Beneath the roofs
Of frosty houses
Lovers part, from tangle warm
Of gentle bodies under quilt
And crack the icy water to the face
And wake and feed the children
And grandchildren that they love
— from Riprap and Cold Mountain Poems

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