Ode to spring

FullSizeRenderSo, we can’t see it yet. We can’t see the fronds poking through the ‘permafrost’ of a Maritime winter. We can’t see the green, green grass of home hosting dandelions. We can’t see the long, bountiful season of warmth and conviviality stretching for weeks into the near future. No, not yet, but soon.

We can hear the mourning doves calling their mates at dawn. We can hear the long moan of the last train into Moncton, spilling their passengers into the early fog. We can hear the first, low rumbling of a new season. And, oddly, without warning, we are happy.

We can smell the good earth as it slowly rises above the snow – its determination beyond dispute. Here, it says, is where you plant; and here is where you don’t this time. Maybe, next time. We can smell the sounds of the city in the hour of the wolf, when every sane person has gone to bed – all, except for those who worship the noise of permanent silence at 4 o’clock in the morning.

Yes, and we are happy without twitter feeds and LinkedIn pokes and Facebook nonsense.

To start again, you start with spring. You start soon. You grab a coat, ring a scarf around your winter neck and head out. You don’t know where you are going. You are simply walking. You fill your chest with air. You pump your legs with bounty and promise. You begin to run – first slowly, then faster and faster as if the world you’ve left behind has no option but to watch you outpace it. It may even smile.

“Is the spring coming? What is it like? It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine.” Or so said Frances Hodgson Burnett, author of The Secret Garden.

“It’s spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want – oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so.” Or so said Mark Twain.

“I enjoy the spring more than the autumn now. One does, I think, as one gets older.” Or so said Virginia Woolf.

I think I agree with her, though I didn’t always. Fall was the time to put away things, the time to reflect in a comforting reverie of the past. Now, in the time of the world’s life, there’s nothing that nostalgia purchases but vain sentiment. Spring, though we can’t see it yet, promises fronds poking through the ‘permafrost’ of a Maritime winter. No, we can’t see the green, green grass of home hosting dandelions. We can’t see the long, bountiful season of warmth and conviviality stretching for weeks into the near future. Not yet, but soon.

We can imagine real sentiment in the springtime of our spirits if we keep moving down the streets on which we live, helping each other – regardless of religious or ethnic differences. If we keep holding out our hands to the newcomers among us, ensuring that they and their families are safe and secure. If we keep invoking the principles of our national Charter of Rights and Freedoms: “freedom of religion, of thought, of expression, of the press and of peaceful assembly; the right to participate in political activities and the right to a democratic government; the freedom to live within Canada, and to leave Canada; legal rights to life, liberty and security.”

If we can’t see it yet, we can still walk into the hard spring of this country.

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