By Bob Boulton
I couldn’t pretend they didn’t exist.
A few days ago, just before the frozen drizzle hit, I noticed the crocuses outside the front door were sprouting up. So I knew the weeds – the crabgrass and the chickweed and the creeping charlie – couldn’t be far behind. I’m not ready. I’m not even ready to be ready.
Our winter so far has been extraordinarily mild. Future generations may call it the Weird Winter of Twenty-Two Twenty-Three. I’ve missed the virtuous pleasures of complaining loudly about city snowplows piling snow in front of my driveway; and of quietly showing off my new fuzzy earmuffs.
Soon I’ll have spring stuff to do. It seems as though I just stored a bunch of stuff. Now I’ll have to drag it all back out again. If I can recall where it is. For instance, my favourite garden shears with the green handles and the clasp hasn’t worked for who knows how many years. I was certain I would remember their whereabouts. So certain.
My calendar notes, printed fat and neat in bold letters, reminded me I should have, already some time ago, started myosotis forget-me-not seeds in Jiffy Pots. Wherever the seeds and the pots may be, they are still resting comfortably undisturbed. And I was going to do I can’t recall what, with the barbeque.
Ready or not, yellow will again be everywhere – the cheerful yellow daffodils, the reliable yellow forsythias, and the fiendish yellow dandelions.
Somebody told me they’d already seen a robin. How is such a thing possible? Maybe it was lost?
The coming of spring is not about comfort. It’s about work. Work I shouldn’t get caught avoiding. Mostly it’s about work I shouldn’t avoid. Winter coats back to the cleaners and spring jackets dug out. The picnic table umbrella needs to be put back up and the flowerpots put back out. I’m half exhausted just thinking about it.
Yes, I confess to some fuzzy weariness anticipating the change from winter to spring. What restrains me from yelling at the chickadees is my experience of spring as a time of renewal, of fresh starts, of worthwhile plans and righteous projects. Spring reminds us that the universe and our lives are in a steady state of transition. That we live side by side with both daffodils and dandelions. No settling in and dozing off is allowed. At its best, spring stirs up some messy noisy hopes inside that coax us from our chairs.
Each year, spring seems to arrive slower than we had anticipated last fall, and faster than now seems conceivable. And each year I will have said “The grass is riz” and “Glad that cows can’t fly” often enough to exasperate even the most forgiving of my hearers.
Bob contributes regularly to our Opinion Column. His verse, short stories, and articles have been published in a variety of small magazines. His blog, Bob’s Write from the Start, is aimed at others who are also renewing writers