At Last, Spring!
Today I went for a walk. I live in Columbia County, in eastern New York. The ground in the fields was wet but not fully frozen, the pond is still frozen, the grass is still brown, and it was about 40 degrees and overcast. I was looking for signs that Spring really was coming.
I know that the Solstice is on March 20, 2008. I should be able to find some sign of the impending change of season, if I look for it, right? I couldn't find it.
But this evening was a different story. For the first time this year I heard the referee's whistle song of the red wing blackbird. the bird was in the top of a bare tree. It was whistling. I could see the red and yellow chevron on its wings.
If you've never heard the Redwing Blackbird, try this. The sound I'm hearing is called the "okalee call." It's about setting out a new territory for the year.
In this corner of the world, the redwing blackbird is the very first sign of Spring. Before crocuses. Before paperwhites. Before anything. In fact, its basketball referee whistle call usually coincides with the beginning of March Madness. The selections for the NCAA tournament haven't come yet. The birds are a little early this year.
And so, in celebration of the fact there is a sign that at long, long last spring is about to emerge, and as important, that the northeastern winter is on its last legs, I offer you ee cummings:
in Just- spring when the world is mud- luscious the little lame baloonman
whistles far and wee
and eddyandbill come running from marbles and piracies and it's spring
when the world is puddle-wonderful
the queer old baloonman whistles far and wee and bettyandisbel come dancing
from hop-scotch and jump-rope and
it's spring and the goat-footed
baloonMan whistles far and wee
Join me in gratitude far and wee for the coming of Springtime.