Spring is whimsical and wary right now, first appearing in a patch of sunlight and then fleeting away in an ice-cold breeze, only to reappear a little later in the liquid song of a redwing blackbird. I wear my winter coat one day, a hoodie the next, and then it’s back to the winter coat the next morning as a heavy frost sparkles on rooftops. Only recently have I given up my thick scarf, though if there’s a wind tomorrow, I may have to pull it out of the closet and wind myself up in it once more.
but the bravest flowers are blooming, the winter aconite and snowdrop. Winter
aconite is a small yellow flower that’s easy to overlook; it remains shut until
the sun has deeply soaked its petals, then pops open like a tiny jewelry box to
reveal gold petals centered on delicate pistils and stamens. The snowdrops this
spring huddle close to the ground, nearly lost in the mud and dead leaves. As
of yet, there are no daffodils blooming—their leaves have come up only an inch
or so out the brown ground. They are cautious and since it freezes each night,
I cannot blame them.
the flowers there is the ground itself: a muddle of browns, thick with the
rotted tree leaves and the dead foliage of last year. There is nothing lovely
to see here, only the form of the land itself. It swells and slopes up from the
river, lies low along the horizon, and finally drops into a ditch.
an unexpected day in early March, once the snow disappeared, city workers came
to clean up the young trees and invasive species that have been growing avid
and unchecked along the creek near my home. It is the first time I can see the
contours of the land clearly in all the years I’ve been living here, and I’m
struck by the curves and lines that slope down towards the creek, a rollicking bed
of dark brown that makes a strong contrast to the bright blue overhead. The
undulating land here is small but it’s a dream, a reason, a mysterious being
that wraps through the neighborhood’s mind. Soon enough, this dark and curving
space will be clad in green, heavily wreathed by plants, bushes and eager
saplings. But for now, it is bare and exposed, revealing the dark space between
winter and summer. This is where the wind snaps cold like a knife, but the
brilliant sunshine keeps calling everyone out despite the drear.