"The beautiful spring came; and when Nature resumes her
loveliness, the human soul is apt to revive also."
HARRIET ANN JACOBS, as seen on brainyquote.com
Spring is still in its early stages in these parts - snow is gone in our garden but there are a few icy patches here and there in the area. We spotted the green nubs of the crocuses one day this week under the oak tree. The next morning we were disappointed to find they'd been nibbled off - guess Mr. Rabbit was waiting for them as eagerly as we were. While our world is still brown and we wait for the nights to stay above freezing, I hungrily gather images of the season from sources other than nature:
- poetry books with their sections on spring themes;- nature books such as Nature Writing for Every Day of the Year (Jane McMorland Hunter), Spring Anthology (Melissa Harrison), and Emma Mitchell's nature diary The Wild Remedy;- magazines filled with spring imagery and bright photography such as Country Life and Victoria;- my blogging friends who live where spring arrives earlier and share their photos.
Even my own memories are pressed into service. I remember my siblings and I looking for pussy willows in the early spring when I was a girl. And while I wait, I use my imagination, what Wordsworth refers to as 'the inward eye which is the bliss of solitude'. And imagine daffodils dancing in the breezes.
Today I feel so grateful for the gift of being alive. For the gift of observation as I watch the clouds building in the spring blue skies. I listen to the birds singing and wait for the song of the first robins to arrive in our area - haven't heard them yet. I watch the trees, squinting as we drive along forested edges on the highway for any noticeable changes to their dormant browns. Surely I see the faintest hint of green on the bare branches, or am I just wishful thinking?
I'm not impatient, but I am so leaning forward.
I turn to lines written by Dorothy Wordsworth, sister to William, from The Grasmere Journals (1802). As I read these lines, they make me feel alive with anticipation... and joy:
"When we were in the woods beyond Gowbarrow Park we saw a few daffodils close to the water-side. We fancied that the sea had floated the seeds ashore, and that the little colony had so sprung up. But as we went along there were more and yet more; and at last, under the boughs of the trees, we saw that there was a long belt of them along the shore, about the breadth of a country turnpike road. I never saw daffodils so beautiful. They grew among the mossy stones about and above them; some rested their heads upon these stones, as upon a pillow, for weariness; and the rest tossed and reeled and danced, and seemed as if they verily laughed with the wind, that blew upon them over the lake; they looked so gay, ever glancing, ever changing ... There was here and there a little knot, and a few stragglers higher up."
I peek into Elizabeth von Arnim's delightful novel The Enchanted April (1922) and read this favourite passage. It's when Mrs. Wilkins opens the shutters on her first morning and looks out:
"All the radiance of April in Italy lay gathered together at her feet. The sun poured in on her . . . and underneath her window, at the bottom of the flower-starred grass slope from which the wall of the castle rose up, was a great cypress, cutting through the delicate blues and violets and rose-colours of the mountains and the sea like a great black sword.She stared. Such beauty; and she there to see it. Such beauty; and she alive to feel it. Her face was bathed in light. Lovely scents came up to the window and caressed her. A tiny breeze gently lifted her hair. Far out in the bay a cluster of almost motionless fishing boats hovered like a flock of white birds on the tranquil sea. How beautiful, how beautiful. Not to have died before this . . . to have been allowed to see, breathe, feel this . . . She stared, her lips parted. Happy? Poor, ordinary, everyday word. But what could one say, how could one describe it? It was as though she could hardly stay inside herself, it was as though she were too small to hold so much of joy, it was as though she were washed through with light."
Ahh. I feel that, as if I'm standing there by the window myself, letting the beauty wash over me. I think of that ancient line in Isaiah 6:3, 'The whole earth is full of His glory'—as I imagine that morning alongside Lottie Wilkins, I feel it to be true.
On another note, I am taking some time away from the blog to work on other writing projects. It's the middle of April, we're a quarter through the year, and I'm not anywhere near a quarter through my audacious writing project list for 2023. Plus, we are taking a short road trip to another province for my niece's college graduation next week. So I won't be around for the next while. I'll try not to be away too long. I'll think of you often. Until then...
Happy dreaming and my best wishes for a beautiful Spring,
Top: Image by Ralph from Pixabay
Middle and bottom: Brenda @ It's A Beautiful Life, 2017