Saturday, April 26, 2014

Bluebirds (of happiness?) arriving

I must admit that I'm astounded that, as April and National Poetry Month are winding down, there are still notable snow banks and piles along shady stretches of several local ditches. The forecast notes we can look forward to below average temperatures and rain (wet, not white, as someone said recently) for the next several days. April showers, May flowers and all that. As of last Thursday, North and South Lindstrom Lakes were still pretty well ice covered. Yesterday and today pussy willows have opened into catkins. In a few weeks, the local woods should start to look like this.

trees starting to leaf out (mid-May 2013)
 trees starting to leaf out (mid-May 2013)   © harrington

The bluebird seen today, another sign of Spring in these parts, will soon have more company. I'm thinking I'd better plan some photography trips for Spring wildflowers and hope I'm not too late. Mary Oliver's poem describes much of the arriving magic.

Such Singing in the Wild Branches

It was spring
and I finally heard him
among the first leaves––
then I saw him clutching the limb

in an island of shade
with his red-brown feathers
all trim and neat for the new year.
First, I stood still

and thought of nothing.
Then I began to listen.
Then I was filled with gladness––
and that’s when it happened,

when I seemed to float,
to be, myself, a wing or a tree––
and I began to understand
what the bird was saying,

and the sands in the glass
stopped
for a pure white moment
while gravity sprinkled upward

like rain, rising,
and in fact
it became difficult to tell just what it was that was singing––
it was the thrush for sure, but it seemed

not a single thrush, but himself, and all his brothers,
and also the trees around them,
as well as the gliding, long-tailed clouds
in the perfect blue sky–––all of them

were singing.
And, of course, so it seemed,
so was I.
Such soft and solemn and perfect music doesn’t last

For more than a few moments.
It’s one of those magical places wise people
like to talk about.
One of the things they say about it, that is true,

is that, once you’ve been there,
you’re there forever.
Listen, everyone has a chance.
Is it spring, is it morning?
Are there trees near you,
and does your own soul need comforting?
Quick, then––open the door and fly on your heavy feet; the song
may already be drifting away.

-Mary Oliver

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