As the air warms I fall in love again with a new season. It's unlike fall, which is my deepest, most passionate affair every year. Spring is more a delirious spark of temptation. Yesterday I sat on a stone in my garden, about twenty feet from the bird feeder. Juncos, grackles, finches, sparrows, mourning doves, blue jays -- everyone was there. They darted from the feeder to the last cover in the garden I've not yet cut down. One junco would call and suddenly the rest joined in, a loud crescendo like a wave over the landscape.
The crocus are nearly gone. The iris reticulata are bending over to touch their sweet-smelling petals to the soil. The other day I passed people embracing beneath a crabapple that will soon bloom. On campus the shorts and flipflop set are in full flare. It seems that any touch, any smell, any sensory perception can creap up on me and suddenly catapult me into another plain of existence. I don't know why. I don't know how a season does this, let along a walk in the prairie, the bluestem grazing arms, a butterfly settling on a shoulder.
"Suddenly I realize / that if I stepped out of my body I would break / into blossom." Those are lines from James Wright's poem A Blessing.Yet I fear that blossoming, too. It exposes me to the world in an overt way. I could have never been a flower, seductive, flamboyant, having so many insects reach into my heart like that--I'd grow fond of each one and feel the loss deeply when they left, hundreds of times each day. I couldn't be spent like that, yet this is what spring promises -- giving one's self up in the hope of a glorious fling, the shedding of our conceptions about self and world. Let go, spring says. Fly away and taste the fleeting nectar of a coneflower or prairie clover. Settle into the bloom and listen to the hum of wings crashing against the shore of senses we don't fully know but feel pulsing subtly within everything.
See the bee on the iris, nestled between the lips of petals, rubbing its body like a violin bow against the pollen? Carry the world home with you. Be at home in the world. This is your one great chance to be born again.