Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy St. Patrick's Day

It would please me no end if Mother Nature were wearing more green today. Maybe next year she will. Thursday is Vernal Equinox, the start of astronomical Spring. Unfortunately, the fifteen day weather forecast looks like we're going to maintain below average temperatures through this month. If this Spring is like many others Minnesota Springs, we could continue below average temperatures right up until we leap into the 90's. Sigh!

22" gap from feeder bottom to snow bank
22" gap from feeder bottom to snow bank     © harrington

We are making progress reducing the snow cover that's holding down the temps of our Spring "warm-up." The gap under the bird feeder has grown to 22", almost double last week's. Driving along 35E yesterday, I noticed that bare ground is starting to show up in a number of places, none of them contiguous. The sun, on the rare occasion that it shows its face, is warming dark colored tree trunks enough to begin melting the snow around the base.

melted snow around the base of tree trunks
melted snow around the base of tree trunks     © harrington

Based on the records of Spring's arrival in prior years in this part of Minnesota, we can expect another six to eight weeks of mud and brown, and then green will start breaking out all over, about two months after St. Patrick's Day. For today, Billy Collins doesn't quite reach the level of Lewis Carroll's "Jabberwocky's--`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:" but the sounds of his words have the ring of Irish to them. Mirled and clabbered, indeed!

Irish Poetry

By Billy Collins 
That morning under a pale hood of sky
I heard the unambiguous scrape of spackling   
against the side of our wickered, penitential house.   

The day mirled and clabbered   
in the thick, stony light,   
and the rooks’ feathered narling   
astounded the salt waves, the plush coast.   

I lugged a bucket past the forked   
coercion of a tree, up toward   
the pious and nictitating preeminence of a school,   
hunkered there in its gully of learning.   

Only later, by the galvanized washstand,   
while gaunt, phosphorescent heifers   
swam beyond the windows,   
did the whorled and sparky gib of the indefinite   
wobble me into knowledge.   

Then, I heard the ghost-clink of milk bottle   
on the rough threshold   
and understood the meadow-bells   
that trembled over a nimbus of ragwort—   
the whole afternoon lambent, corrugated, puddle-mad.

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