By George D. Zulch
SPRING, YES, HERE I AM. It is the prefect word for the unexpectedness of its full-blown arrival. It does not come with a whisper, or any excuses for its stepping forward, but presents itself in immediate fresh dress, bright green with the sun turned up and the birds singing its entry. A quick change of stage set maneuvered behind the screen, I suppose.
When the snow melts, I said to myself, I have to pick up a few bags of soil and chips before the plants start coming up, since I did not want to cover the emerging shoots stretching up from the tiredness of their wintry sleep. No such chance, however, for as soon as the blanket of white found itself carved out by the gaining warmth into a frail lattice of crystals, the snowbells where already hanging their heads in clusters. And, as winter resigned more to the swelling wet sod, ancient with its inheritance of past years clippings, tan tendrils of dead grass, and brown leaves, I was struck by the small scattered shocks of pale purple, the furled crocuses just arising like bishops. What joy to behold the official confirmation of spring, complemented by a growing choir of birds.
Advancing further along in time one begins to see hyacinths pushing through the earth looking like green artichokes. The daffodil shoots and leaves are also up at about this time with nothing to suggest the flower they will support. Magnolia trees still show their silvery bark flickering through the fat blossoms that look like a multitude of cherry vanilla soft ice-cream cones just licked.
For me the most stunning bloom is that of the forsythia with its bright yellow display reaching out with sinuous arms. Even in the cold dreariness of a late March shower; winter’s attempt to reassert itself; the forsythia just keeps glowing and insisting that it is in fact still spring and that we must hold on another day until the sun is out again.
How do I paint the color, texture and form of the spring, in what it inspires of renewal and life’s certainty, for me. How do I write the image and the pervasive feeling of its primordial return of all that is most meaningful? Perhaps it is just to be felt, embraced for its place in the cycle each year and a reminder of our better selves.