A Time of Singing

Rise up, my love, my fair one,
And come away.
For lo, the winter is past,
The rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth;
The time of singing has come,
And the voice of the turtledove
Is heard in our land.
The fig tree puts forth her green figs,
And the vines with the tender grapes
Give a good smell,
Rise up, my love, my fair one,
And come away!
O my dove, in the clefs of the rock
In the secret places of the cliff,
Let me see your countenance,
Let me hear your voice;
For your voice is sweet,
And your countenance is lovely. 

Song of Solomon 2: 10 – 14
New King James Version

Today spring officially arrived in Northern California. The point of balance is tilted towards the light. The temperatures have been mild and the trees have been blooming for several weeks. What little rain we had this year is past.

The sun is slowly making its way northward and the mornings are filled with the sounds of chirping birds. Last week I heard the honk of geese heading north and today, outside my bedroom window, I heard the cooing of two doves – that low, slightly plaintive call they have that is so beautiful and so comforting.

Spring is the time of promise and new beginnings; a time to leave the past with its mistakes behind; to forgive ourselves and others for not being perfect and moving forward; a time of trust that the worst is over and better times lie ahead; a time of hope.

“Hope is a thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
and never stops – at all –

Emily Dickinson

What song is your soul singing?

The Song of Solomon is part of the Holy Scripture for both Jews and Christians. Its structure has parallels with the pastoral idylls of Theocritus (3rd C BC) and shows the influence of Mesopotamian and Egyptian love poetry. Speculation places its composition form the 10th to 2nd centuries BC. The Song makes no reference to “Law”, “Covenant” or Yahweh, nor does it explore wisdom or history. Instead it celebrates human love, although over the years this interpretation has been replaced by the analogy of love between God and his people or his church. (Summarized from Wikipedia)

 

Spring in Motion

This morning shortly after rising I hear Canadian geese over head on a northward course back home. I go outside and feel a strong breeze from the southwest. It rattles the new baby leaves on the trees, shakes the pink and white blossom until they are dizzy, and buffets the birds up and down so that they first skim over the treetops, then spin earthward on the current.

Near the entrance to the park two men in orange vests carry slow/stop signs to control the flow of impatient cars. The giant arm of a steam shovel breaks the asphalt to reveal the broken sewer pipe beneath. A dark, squat, smoking barrel sits on the side of the road; the thick licorice smell of tar oozes down the sidewalk and across creek and over the pond.

An old blond cocker spaniel, partly blind and hard of hearing, lifts her head to sniff the wind. Her tail is too tired to wag although a spark of light flashes in her shadowed eyes. Does she perhaps remember other springs when the distant bird was clearly seen, the field an invitation to run, the sound of her master voice a call to action. Her limitations do not interfere with her enjoyment of this day and she rambles off behind her master.

Already the little creek lies low within its banks and fishermen are far and few between. The white crane seen last spring standing in the reeds along its banks will not be here again.The short rainy season has expired and another year of water rationing is certain.

Meanwhile, high plumes shoot upward from the pond, the wind blowing the water into a mist that carries across the wide expanse of lawn where a scattering of dandelions seem to be dancing. Except for the pines whose shade is thick and still and black, the trees that line the edges of the field cast a mosaic of dappled shadows that shift in an ever-moving mass of dark and light.

Three Chihuahuas, each on a leash, meet along a path. With sharp high cries they greet each other. Three tails wag furiously as smells are offered and exchanged. Owners walk away, dogs are pulled apart; they look back and give little yips of goodbye.

Having made the long looping circuit of the park, the blond cocker spaniel returns and is carefully lifted into the back seat of the waiting car. As it drives away, she sticks her head out the back window, eyes unseeing, ears unhearing, wind blowing her curling fur. I think, there is not enough time left to have all of the dogs I want.

In how many springs will the wind blow through our hair? How many more bright days filled with the scent of fresh cut grass will intoxicate us? How many more sunsets will we see?  Life is so short; love is so long,

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring Rhythms

Last night a roar like the rumble of a heavy-laden truck broke the stillness of evening and rapidly grew in intensity. The sky came crashing down in short staccato bursts of small hard ice pellets that hopscotched across wet sidewalks. The sudden storm was furious but passed in moments, leaving behind a slowly sinking sun and a faded blue sky stained with blotches of pink and crimson and orange clouds.

Today, within the small world that is the neighborhood park, the dew lays heavy on the grass, muffling the sounds of passing traffic and the strident barking of a dog. The sky is clear of even the thinnest clouds. The gusts of sweet air jostle the trees, their long limbs shudder and their leaves wave back and forth in the morning light.

People walk down streets and around paths, collars turned up, briskly keeping pace with tail-wagging dogs whose noses twitch as squirrels race up and down ancient oaks. A black-jacketed girl with knee-high boots and short shorts struts across the parking lot, high heels clicking and purse swinging. A jogging man takes off his shirt to bare his young brown skin, then sprints off to the track. At the playground children squeal and chase elusive bouncing balls thrown by weary mothers looking forward to afternoon naps.

Two mallards waddle in stately procession across the wide lawn, twin tails swinging in tick-tock fashion, four webbed feet keeping cadence to a goosey rhythm only they can hear. Overhead two dragonflies dart and dance, their biplane wings a circular blur against the sky. From a nearby branch a black crow looks on with interest and caws in reply to the noon bells of St. Philomene’s. Time for lunch.

 

The Wind Arrived Today

The wind arrived today
Very full of itself
Boasting of the lines it had tangled
And the trees felled.
Filled with the moisture
It scooped along the highways of the sky
And beside the river of stars
It has traveled by night while all slept.
Wind came rushing in
Sweeping the clouds to the sides
Of the Great Valley
With the broom of its cool breath.
Huffing and puffing
It tossed its shaggy head this way and that
Shaking its tangled locks
And roaring.
Made of nothing
It is not silent but used all
For its horn and drum
In its march northward.
It cleared a path
For the massive clouds that pile up behind
And shape shift into castles and bears
And galloping horses.
Pushing clouds this way and that,
A bully of the playground,
It sorts things out and
Allows the sun to enter.
Yellow white rays sting with heat,
Sun’s piercing eye
Jolts the slumbering seeds
Into an inner frenzy.
While the sap rises
The buds break their hard brown sheaths
And arrive lime green and vibrant
Along the arms of trees.
Cool and moist on the outside,
Hot and dry on the inside,
Spring kicks at Mother’s belly
Eager to be born.

WATCHING SPRING

crowAbiding in stillness,
Watching, watching.

Trees and grasses
Eat their fill
Of Father Sun
While Mother Earth
Melts winter roots
In the mud.

Resting in stillness,
Watching, watching.

Large black leaf drops
To ground:
Crow.
Strutting;
Head cocks,
Breaks fast in the grass.

Being in stillness,
Watching, watching.

An old man with a white beard
Wears a bright orange turban;
A child points.
Cane ready,
The brown and gray woman
Sidles past geese.

Remembering in stillness,
Watching, watching,

A red ball with blue stars
Rolls by:
The no-more boy is remembered.
Sorrow;
It is as if it is
The first time.

Abiding in stillness,
Watching, watching
Eternal spring.

AFTER THE RAINS

gooseThis morning the face of the sky is bruised by mottled gray clouds and resembles the face of a woman after a long night with a rough lover.

The steady overnight rain has tripled the size of the stream at the park and the ducks skim across its quickly flowing surface like ice skaters. While its companions skitter back and forth, one duck bobs three times into the stream, then flaps its wings, shaking the water off its oil slicked feathers before waddling up a low bank to preen in the cool watery sun.

A honking breaks the silence of the morning, the cry both a protest and a challenge to a convoy of ducks who are ignoring the boundaries set a goose along the stream’s concourse. Darting out from its feeding among the reeds, the goose flaps its giant wings and the ducks scatter like ten pins.

Long necked, black billed, brown winged, the goose commands the water, its delta white tail set high and proud like a sail against the brown water and dark green grasses. Beside it a small gosling vigorously paddles to keep pace.

Three other geese, two white and one black, pull their bottom heavy bodies out of the current and struggle up the bank. With heads down and beaks busily gobbling up drenched earth worms, they waddle their way stolidly down the path towards the small lake that is ringed by trees.

A film of gray moss coats the tops of the heavy black limbs of the oaks and accents the light green of the new leaves that are emerging. The spent blossoms of the pink and white flowering trees cling damply to the thin branches and sag like crepe paper the morning after a spring dance.

A lone walker jogs by, head bare, scarf whipping in the spring wind while high above the path a telephone lineman wearing a heavy leather belt dangling with tools leans out of a small metal basket and scatters a flock of birds.

(new post on art site at http://MarieTaylorArt.wordpress.com )

SPRING LANDSCAPE

flowering treeInch by inch the sun climbs higher requiring adjustments to the tilt and angle of the cloth fishing hat I wear to shield my eyes from the light. I position my chair beneath the pine and observe the landscape of the park.

The evergreens which have stood faithful through the winter’s frost and rains provide a dark background for the first of the flowering trees whose pink and white blossoms declare the arrival of spring.

The sea gulls, responding to some mysterious seasonal signal, have recently departed leaving the big field flat and empty except for the young girl who sits cross-legged and with head bowed, secretively rolls a joint.

From the naked oak trees, the crows practice cries of indignation in rehearsal for some future occasion when intimidation will be required.

A dark-skinned man pushing a white-haired crone in a wheel chair stops to chat with the bouncing woman with dreadlocks whose big voice carries easily over the pathways.

The creek, still frisky from the weekend’s rain, tumbles over banks and curls around roots in its eagerness to reach the river that will in turn carry it to the great sea beyond where it will, for the first time, encounter the giant migrating whales of legend.

In the distance the fountain on the lake spews jets of water high above the cruising ducks and migrating Canadian geese, the small lake an inn along their silken road north.

The muffled thump of car doors presage the arrival of young mothers with small children and restless dogs who want to walk faster and roam further than allowed.

“Howdy,” I say to the young man walking by whose glittering blue motorcycle helmet has “Pilgrim” stenciled in white. My cowboy welcome throws him off stride and as he slews left to the parking lot I hear the jingle of the metal clips of his leather boots.

Beneath the laughter and the calling birds and the swish of passing cars, the large hands of Silence cradle the park gently as it swings into the afternoon.