Friday, March 30, 2018

It's almost Easter?

It's snowing; not very hard at the moment, but, nevertheless, snowing. Those Canada geese and swans and various ducks that have moved North will probably hunker down and wait it out. We saw some streaks of open water yesterday along the Sunrise River pools in Carlos Avery Wildlife Management Area. We also saw a couple of male red-wing blackbirds perched on last year's cattail rushes. Will blackbirds also wait out the early Spring snow fall? Probably.

red-winged blackbird, early Spring
red-winged blackbird, early Spring
Photo by J. Harrington

The top of our piano has one vase with apple branches and another full of pussy willows. They reflect  our response this Spring to the conundrum "If the mountain won't come to Mohammed...." Spring is dragging her feet this year on her way to our North Country, so we went and met some of her emissaries part way. The vases hold signs that Spring does exist actually exist, somewhere. Did we mention that it's snowing?

forced apple blossoms
forced apple blossoms
Photo by J. Harrington

Today's snow triggers memories of childhood Easters, when we wore new Easter clothes that needed to be put on display, but were sometimes hidden under heavy Winter coats. Early Easter, late Easter, early Spring, late Spring are clearly not a recent phenomenon. We might be less perturbed about today's snow if we were likely to soon return to temperatures more typical of this time of year. When it comes to melting Spring snow, there's a significant difference between daytime highs in the low 30s versus the high 40s, but you knew that. By the way, it's still snowing.

pussy willow catkins
pussy willow catkins
Photo by J. Harrington

If we were better students of Zen, we'd be cheered by the realization that the issue isn't with the weather, it's with our expectations. We noticed while walking the dogs that the snowflakes collected on dogs' backs and didn't melt until we returned to the warm house. We probably need to feel more gratitude that we have a nice, warm house to protect us from early Spring snowstorms. This is a very tough time of year for many. There's little open water, no new growth, most of Winter's stores have been eaten, it's a hungry time for many. Since Easter is a time of rebirth and renewal, we'll focus this year on renewing our appreciation for the many blessings we have. We wish you all a happy, healthy and joy-filled Passover tomorrow and Easter Sunday.

The Silent Singer


The girls sang better than the boys, 
their voices reaching All the way to God, 
Sister Ann Zita insisted during those 
     practice sessions
when I was told to mouth do, re, mi,
     but to go no higher,
when I was told to stand in back 
    and form a perfect 0
        with my lips
although no word was ever to come out, 
the silent singer in that third-grade 
     class
during the Christmas Pageant and Easter 
     Week, the birth and death 
        of Christ lip-synched
            but unsung 
while my relatives, friends and parents
     praised my baritone,
     how low my voice was,
Balancing those higher, more childlike tones,
     my father said,
Adding depth, my mother said,
Thank God they had my huskiness to bring all
     that tinniness to earth,
     my great-aunt whispered,
so I believed for many years in miracles
     myself,
the words I’d never sung reaching their ears 
     in the perfect pitch, the perfect tone, 
while the others stuttered in their all-too-human
     voices to praise the Lord.


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