Spring Awakenings

There is some deep, inexorable, terrestrial alarm that awakens things around here at this time in April. The Latin “aperire” means “to open,” and that’s what’s occurring throughout my realm. (April was once the second month in the Roman calendar, but then King Pompilius added January and February and April, well, was bumped.)

Eliot called April “the cruelest month” (The Wasteland), but he was a tad of a cynic to begin with when he wasn’t dealing with cats.

As if an alarm clock sounded at a pitch only animals and plants could hear, in 24 hours this place has blossomed, bloomed, and beguiled. Thirteen goslings hatched at once, a record ten to one pair of parents (pictured here). We’ve had from one to ten baby geese at times, which is a factor of how well the parents shielded the nest and fought off raccoons, foxes, and snakes. We suspect the ten came from a strategically sound nest on an island in our pond (Maria forbids me to call it a “lake”).

Ducklings will follow. The birds are all over the feeders, and goldfinches, cardinals, and blue jays create a rainbow in the yard while avoiding the occasional hawk, who’s more intent on the squirrels. Scores of turtles have dug out of winter quarters, and they climb atop the logs and rocks in the lake, er, pond, sometimes forming crazy house-of-cards pyramids. When they are startled, the piles of turtles seem to explode into reptilian chaos. The large snapper lurks in the mud, rarely exposing himself. You can see him here, also, on one of his rare expeditions out of the water. Soon, we’ll hear the basso profundo of the frogs at night.

The evergreens have been joined by their deciduous brethren, which are filling in all the gaps and isolating our property in magnificent privacy. The tulip trees must be 60 feet tall, and I’m reminded of C. Northcote Parkinson’s observation that trees seldom die from decay or sickness or, one presumes, from sin. They die when they reach the size, weight, and duration usual for that type of tree. (The same is true of institutions and organizations.)

My gardens are planted (I’m trying watermelon this year and beets again, among peppers and carrots and radishes), the pool will open in three weeks, the lawn guys are back, and the detritus of winter has been removed.

Meanwhile, we have new generations born and being raised in the water, on land, and in the air. I didn’t hear the alarm they all did, but I’m up and ready for a new day.

© Alan Weiss 2008. All rights reserved.


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