Saturday, April 02, 2011

Spring Hopes Eternal

.. some of my favourite things ..

Spring is a time of proverbial hope that presents us with the promise of originality and continuity. Flowers bloom and trees bud with fruit to remind us of the ceaseless cycle of nature with a rejuvenation of the earth in all its glory. The beautiful and endlessly variable creatures we share this world with emerge from their winter hibernation in hidden cocoons into startling beings of magnificent splendour in anticipation of a new season.

The sun pushes the dark clouds of winter aside to shine across the sapphire sea with the warmth of inspiration. The jagged peaks that rise high above the old town release their caps of frosted snow and sparkling rainbows of ice crystals melt in the gentle spring heat to form rivulets of sweet mountain streams that flow into the verdant valleys below.

Behold, my friends, the spring is come; the earth has gladly received the embraces of the sun, and we shall soon see the results of their love
~ Sitting Bull

Those expressions of wonder and surprise as the strings untwine from the wrist of a child and a balloon bounces free to float skyward; the mixture of sad bewilderment and joyful excitement as she points to the pale blue heavens in anticipation of its journey.

A hundred pairs of smiling eyes track its progress on the tender breeze that carries it across the Sunday bustle of the harbour where families gather to lunch, and beyond the distant steeple of the old church, bells ringing out in anticipation of the faithful prayers of the multitudes as the Lenten season advances toward the celebration of Easter parades.

If you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it's your world for the moment. I want to give that world to someone else. Most people in the city rush around so, they have no time to look at a flower. I want them to see it whether they want to or not 
~ Georgia O'Keefe

The effervescent rush of cool spring water, luxurious with minerals and served in a frosted glass accompanied by a crisp slice of tart lemon brings refreshment to throats parched by vigorous hillside walks in late afternoon sunshine. All around the buds of spring are growing swiftly on russet twigs, pushing through dark green leaves and fibrous stalks to reveal a splash of vibrant colour in announcement of brighter days ahead.

Marshes and ponds spring to life with the steady croaking of frogs and the impatient quack of ducks and brooks of clear water come alive with the splashing of mating fishes. Egrets, herons and flamingos hunt eagerly for morsels of briny shrimp and mussels amongst the rocks of tidal pools and shimmering wetlands.

The seasons are what a symphony ought to be:  four perfect movements in harmony with each other ~ Arthur Rubenstein

Early birds awaken with first light and begin a melodic harmony of songs and calls to companions around the fields and yards of fresh grass and odorous plants. Tunefully sounding the coming day the fluttering fauna initiate reciprocal refrains from the collection of domesticated cats and dogs that had slept in bins and under porches. Even now they rise with the sun for an enthusiastic but futile morning pursuit.

Lazy weekend laughter echoes across the street as children play games of chase and catch in imitation of the animal kingdom. Adults offer modest gestures of flirtation in a ritual of spring courting that the youngest and oldest alike appreciate as innocent pleasure, the passage of time becoming a circle of the joys of adolescent indulgence.

The year's at the spring and day's at the morn;
Morning's at seven; the hillside's dew-pearled;
The lark's on the wing; the snail's on the thorn;
God's in His heaven - All's right with the world!
~ Robert Browning

Fresh coffee on the brew bubbles the sleep away from an early morn, its earthy odour, fragrant and rich simmers as the mouth-watering aroma of bread baking from the café next door wafts in with the first light through the shuttered window.

Youthful girls promenade in the latest fashion; accessories jingle on lithe limbs to sparkle in the evening sunset, a frivolous display of welcome for the young men gathered on corners striking poses of assumed masculinity. The mating dance of eons, the ritual of declaration, the strutting of cosmetic jewels and cloth fineries purchased from boutiques proclaims the spring as surely as the peacock’s tail suggests the dalliance of intimacy to come.

It's spring fever.  That is what the name of it is.  And when you've got it, you want - oh, you don't quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache,
you want it so! ~ Mark Twain

Breakfast becomes a feast of fruits and grains plucked from local farms, milled in local barns and provide sustenance to the hungry child of nature. Strawberries, ripe, plump and red coated with sweet cream grace the day to enliven thoughts and stimulate the mind.

Couples strolling leisurely in the evening cast long shadows; a poignant sundial of fading years edging along the avenue, turning sepia in the half-light like photographs gathered in boxes to be brought out on holidays to amuse the young with stories of past endeavours, and to touch the hearts of the aging with melancholic reminders of bright eyes and smooth skin.

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain ~ T. S. Eliot

Some people spend their days planning for the future that never arrives and fail to live the present. The gift of life slips away as a hundred well-laid strategies for tomorrow flutter into oblivion of alcohol-induced fantasies and regret paints the colours of moody storms on the canvas of hopeless dreams. Taken by dwelling on the misery of daily problems they resent the journey and blame those who have the spirit of adventure for the challenges they seize and begrudge the opportunities others take as they allow imagination to recede in sorrowful days of hazy recollections.

If I had my life to live over, I would start barefoot earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall. I would go to more dances. I would ride more merry-go-rounds. I would pick more daisies ~ Nadine Stair

Sweet drops of honey drip from lightly toasted bread onto my anxious tongue like the sticky dew clings to the tall reeds along the banks of the pond in my view outside the backdoor. Streaking my chin with golden nectar the tacky substance sends shivers of delight across my taste buds. I lick at the moist juice gathered from the combs of nearby hives and wish dreams of love eternal could stay as sweet.

For every person who has ever lived there has come, at last, a spring he will never see. Glory then in the springs that are yours ~ Pam Brown

Elderly folk amble peacefully along the boardwalk, arm in arm with grandchildren pushing strollers and waving to friends, stopping to exchange greetings and fleeting conversations that embrace tight bonds between common acquaintances. A moment’s respite on a bench along the harbour with light kisses on rose-tinted cheeks maintains a ring of memories linking paths along the road in a state of togetherness and hopeful continuance through generations.

The greening vegetation that bushes up as shrubs and cabbage-leafed foliage on every vacant lot and tended garden provides a cure for the passing bleakness of unpleasantly cold days. Manicured lawns and the hope of surrounding themselves with the colour of extravagant blossoms give meaning and reason to those who huddled through the past chilly months with their foggy and overcast billows of grey clouds and drizzling days of dank puddles.

It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade
~ Charles Dickens

Jealous hearts and secret mercenaries, those whose thoughts are of material things, the acquisition of industry’s metal monsters, pilfering the birthright of naïve wonderers whose travels are honest and filled only with hope, they will find their darkened deliberations swallowed by truth. Mother's children will be rewarded with honourable compensation in due course, for honesty and compassion is greater triumph than clandestine deeds of the envious unimaginative dwellers in sinister schemes.

That knowledge of love within a tightly knit community of associates and companions that continues the strength of shared history throughout the years of forgotten anxieties. The same faces, the same stories told again as friends meet over drinks in the dusky twilight, the same old dreams now departed as time forces acceptance of age and place. Those who never leave tell tales of lands they hint at as if talk would satisfy ambition and discuss those who left as if they betrayed a bargain that was never sealed with any more than the silly thoughts of childish expectation.

And Spring arose on the garden fair,
Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere;
And each flower and herb on Earth's dark breast
rose from the dreams of its wintry rest.
~ Percy Bysshe Shelley

Music, sweet as jellied fruit, sometimes in the form of modern jazz or occasionally a rendition of a soft-rock classic, but almost always tinged and spiced with indigenous instruments and the parodic accompaniment of a heavily accented singer, oozes from dim alleys like a tantalising come-on to the sedated tourists. The thumping bassline beat of contemporary dance tunes bounce along cobbled stones in late night bars and discotheques where women in impossibly high heels and improbably short skirts sit staring at the sea sipping incredibly large and powerfully intoxicating cocktails.

The setting sun kisses the beach, a token of love, a forget-me-not for its brief departure, a gesture of separation that reminds us all of the beautiful relationship connecting soul to spirit and body to mind. This wink of adoration is but a hopeful proposition of reunion on the other side of the night. The rising moon a reflection of the brightest star in sky, its brilliance a souvenir of the sun that returns each morning with an affectionate caress, like the lover who brought you toast with cherry jam and coffee.

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils ~ William Wordsworth

The distant clouds that still obscure the sun with shadows on its trail to the sea are not quite gone for the season. They hark back to cooler nights as if afraid to release the winter and wed the spring with its clement enthusiasm of longer days. Those mementos of time’s eternal passage adhere to the souls of the thankful as distinction of character, a reminder of that struggle through the darker days of adversity when loneliness surrounded the body as a veil shields painted ruby lips from the casual kisses of potential admirers.

If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome
~ Anne Bradstreet

But, like a promise in the future, with its endless surprises, its novel prospects, hope continues to dream in the spring of another fruitful year of adventure and joy in the simple pleasures of free will and integrity of purpose.

I explore life as one who thrives on liberty and the determination to believe that faith is a timeless fountain. True love trusts in a deliverance of the reward of genuine happiness to those loyal to its cause, and I preserve devotion to hope in the eternal spring.

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