Spring Snippets

April, dressed in all his trim, hath put a spirit of youth in everything.  The weather dithers on whether it should be warm, wet, or frosty again. This is the season for me to bring in a bouquet—of spring-themed snippets. 

‘It was the mulberry spring.  The spring the mulberries were fatter and juicier than anyone remembered.  The sidewalk under the mulberry tree on the corner was strained deep purple for weeks.  The birds got fat.  Morley sent Sam out with a chair and a bowl three times.  Three times in two weeks she baked mulberry pie, the juices bubbling over the pie crust like wine.  It was the spring it only rained at night.  The spring of damp earth and blue skies.  The spring of fat worms.  It was the spring gardening became so popular that even criminals got into it.’ –“Emil”, Home From the Vinyl Café: A Year of Stories, Stuart McLean

The tantalising description of that pie makes me wish I had a mulberry tree of my own.  The time for fresh fruit pie is coming up fast, and I look forward to it.  In the mean-time I’m minding my garden, trying to keep it safe from furry little felons. 

‘Every moment the patches of green grew bigger and the patches of snow grew smaller.  Every moment more and more of the trees shook off their robes of snow.  Soon, wherever you looked, instead of white shapes you saw the dark green of firs or the black prickly branches of bare oaks and beeches of elms.  Then the mist turned from white to gold and presently cleared away altogether.  Shafts of delicious sunlight struck down onto the forest floor and overhead you could see a blue sky between the tree-tops.  Soon there were more wonderful things happening.  Coming suddenly round a corner into a glade of silver birch trees Edmund saw the ground covered in all directions with little yellow flowers—celandines.  The noise of water grew louder.  Presently they actually crossed a stream.  Beyond it they found snowdrops growing.’  The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis

‘Aslan is on the move!’  It would be an incomplete list of snippets if I didn’t include a scene from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.  Thankfully, my winter didn’t feel like one hundred years, but I still feel the relief and excitement. 

‘By the middle of March I could have told you it was spring without looking.  Jessie did not come around anymore, she was fishing the rewarding waters of the open stream, she was returning to a tree hollow full of babies.  The Baron Weasel did not come by.  There were salamanders and frogs to keep him busy.  The chickadees sang alone, not in a winter group, and the skunks and minks and foxes found food more abundant in the forest than at my tree house.  The circumstances that had brought us all together in the winter were no more.  There was food on the land and the snow was slipping away.’  My Side of the Mountain, Jean Craighead George

Like Sam on his mountain, I’ve noticed a change in the local wildlife.  The robins have returned, trilling loudly whenever it rains.  The sandhill cranes have claimed the fields as dancing grounds.  And those pesky squirrels are trying to make nests in our garage. 

‘It was the month of May.  From every height the full fresh streams of spring were flowing down into the valley.  The clear warm sunshine lay upon the mountain, which had turned green again.  The last snows had disappeared and the sun had already coaxed many of the flowers to show their bright heads above the grass.  Up above the gay young wind of spring was singing through the fir trees, and shaking down the old dark needles to make room for the new bright green ones that were soon to deck out the trees in their spring finery.  Higher up still the great bird went circling round in the blue ether as of old, while the golden sunshine lit up the grandfather’s hut, and all the ground about it was warm and dry again so that one might sit our where one liked.  Heidi was at home again on the mountain, running backwards and forwards in her accustomed way, not knowing which spot was most delightful.’  Heidi, Johanna Spyr

I appreciate the mention of fir trees in spring.  They are so often associated with winter, but spring is such a busy time for coniferous trees.  The brightly coloured fresh needles are soft, and fun to pet.  Little popping sounds echo as cones open up.  The downside is the cloud of pollen that wafts down to coat the deck. 

‘Then came April.  The oppression of final exams settled over Stephanie, and indeed over the entire campus, like the Black Death.  This wasn’t Stephanie’s first April at university.  She knew the drill.  She’d started rationing money in February.  And food.  So when classes ended, she had both funds and sustenance.  But not a lot of either: Cheerios and peanut butter, tuna fish and crackers—unlike the April before, when she’d survived on Mr. Noodles and the occasional foray to a local box store, where she pushed an empty cart up and down the aisles, assembling meals from the free samples.’ “Spring at University” Vinyl Café Turns the Page, Stuart McLean

Closing as I opened, with Stuart McLean.  This one may not be as optimistic, though.  All the best, to the students out there!

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