by Christine Maccabee
To say that spring is my favorite time of year is putting it mildly. I love spring and can barely keep myself indoors on a beautiful day like today. Every morning, the birds create a symphony of music, too incredible for words. Then, as early evening approaches, the frogs and toads begin tuning up for their cascade of mating sounds, which to my ears is music—profound music of the spheres and an expression of our earth’s on-going mind-blowing beauty.
Several years ago, I began recording bird songs, notating them on staff paper. Luckily, I have a good ear and lots of training in timings and keys, as bird songs can be very complex; each bird, usually the male, has a repertoire unique to itself and the occasion of calling for a mate or declaration of territory. However, I am of the opinion—and am quite sure it is true—that sometimes birds simply sing on and on just for the joy of it!
To say that I live for spring is true for me, and likely many others. No longer do we have to pull on heavy boots, layers of clothes, hats, and gloves. Devoted mothers no longer have to make sure their children are dressed for twenty-degree weather as they wait for the bus. And the elderly, who sometimes struggle just to get dressed, are freed up as well. Things are lightening up, you might say.
Yes, keeping me inside today will be next to impossible, so I will take a break from typing and go out to plant onions. I must have my store of onions for the winter. See you soon…
Well, I am back, but I only got so far as hanging out the laundry; no onions planted yet. I have so many thoughts, so many feelings today because of spring; I am not certain which song to sing first. I am like the mockingbird with his repertoire of untold numbers of songs, twittering about today. Maybe I have spring fever. It has been known to happen.
As I chased the cat away from the bird feeder, while hanging clothes, I thought of my good friend Walter. Whenever I would ask him if he knew what sort of bird was singing, he always would reply, “Oh, that’s a Tweety Bird!” Funny. Guess that’s me today, twittering away about everything, and nothing.
Now it’s time to get serious, right? Or maybe not. After days and days of stress and worry, we all need time off to go take that long walk or simply plant petunias. I could go on and on about the wild edibles you can put in your salads (violet and dandelion flower petals are so rich in vitamins and minerals). I could instruct you as to how to build a cold frame, so as to eat salad greens all winter, or inspire you to be a seed saver. Or I could tell you the secrets of planting onions properly (I once had a caretaker here who insisted that he knew how to plant onion sets; he told me to leave him alone, and that year, we had no onions because he planted the bulbs upside down!).
However, I need this downtime today to simply enjoy the beauty of this incredible springtime; time to renew my spirit after some rough times. Every day, there are things to deal with: some simple problems and some seemingly insurmountable. But, somehow, we surmount them. I just finished reading a book called Grandma Gatewood’s Walk, and I now have a new heroine, who surmounted far more problems than I ever had. After far too many years of horrible abuse by her husband and devotedly raising eleven children, in 1955, at the age of sixty-seven, she completely turned her back on it all. Setting out in Georgia with a 15-pound sack of essentials, thrown over her shoulder, and wearing tennis shoes, she hiked the entire length of the Appalachian Trail. She even did it two more times and became renowned for trailblazing in Ohio.
I figure if Emma Gatewood could do that, I can deal with my little problems. Think I will just plant those onions and then go take a nice long walk!