The return of spring

By Howard J. Savage in Poetry & Literature

The days gradually get warmer and warmer. The sun looks like a great fire ball in the sky and the last few patches of white have disappeared. The melting snow that started as a trickle turns ditches into streams and finally raging rivers, the water jumping into waves that twist and turn like a hungry monster waiting for some victim in its frigid depths. Then inside a week or so it turns into a babbling brook and is as calm as a new born kitten. In the distance a flock of honking geese make us look up. There they fly in a precision V-formation that has brought them many miles back home. You can hear the swish of their wings as they fly low looking for a patch of water and a place to rest. They have toiled and fought through storms and adversity to complete their migration.

Next little patches of green emerge as the Spring rains produce lush grass. Now everything slowly inches back to life. Out of a patch of brown earth comes a small sprig of flower, so dainty and fragile. In a few days of sun and warmth it has grown six or eight inches. Then a small ball forms on the top and suddenly comes forth the most staggering piece of artwork the human eye has ever seen. The flowers fill the air with their fragrant scent that purifies the atmosphere to beautify and justify the landscape. They almost intensify the stunning colours of a rainbow arcing across the sky.

The fruit trees that donate such a tasty harvest, break out in delicate blossom. They are susceptible to late frosts but if they survive they are a sight to behold. The whole landscape is covered in trees that beautify the earth while providing blossoms for the bees to pollinate. The blossoms turn into buds and the buds into fruit. An amazing process.

Other trees that have looked like a giant octopus standing sentinel during the winter with their dark naked branches, now force out little buds that will become shade producing leaves. But for now the task is producing sap. This is a necessary process for all trees but in the sugar maples it is a small miracle. This ingredient is a sweet water-like liquid. It is tapped from the trees and collected. In the old days it dripped from a spiel into a bucket where it was gathered every day. Now pipelines go from tree to tree and empty into a large tank where it is hauled to an elaborate boiler and finally becomes a wonderful thick syrup. A priceless gift of nature. One of the most elaborate sweeteners of the world.

Now the birds return. Small and large. Each one has a colour and personality and their own particular quality of song. Perfect little creatures that only the hands of God could mold. They labour all the day long searching for just the right spot to build homes for their little ones. Birds of all species construct sturdy nests inlaid with soft fuzzy bedding. Eggs are laid and kept warm day and night until hatched. Then the hard work really begins. From early morning til the sun goes down they fly to and fro gathering nourishment for their young. They hustle and bustle singing cheerful melodies with not a note misplaced. Their colourful bodies seem like just one more thing put here to enhance and glorify the earth.

What fun to watch the nestling birds grow and develop. First a yellow beak is all that can been seen poking from the nest. Then a brave youngster will stand on the edge of the nest and flap its tiny wings. Not strong enough yet it topples to the ground where the parents go into panic mode until they can usher it to some kind of safety. Soon formal flying lessons fill the daylight hours.

In May the hummingbirds come back. With their long beaks and jewel-like bodies they put on a fantastic show. So small but so mighty as they defy anything to invade their territory.

Now it gets into warmer, short-sleeve weather. Larger more significant flowers begin their parade. Gorgeous blooms that show up in the light of the moon and glow with drops of golden dew in the morning sunshine.

Suddenly the sky turns grey and there is a rumble of thunder in the distance. The trees toss and bend on the rising wind and then a flash of lightning streaks across the sky, discharging power and electricity. Birds take cover from the oncoming storm. It begins to rain. It comes down in torrents to create little rivers in the lane and yard. The grass explodes into brilliant green, flowers look like they had a boost from heaven itself.

When the land has dried, happy farmers begin breaking sod. Spring has come at last.