Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Report from the Midwest Tundra

The wind howled all night long. First it rained. Rained like a spring rain, washing out all the grit and salt frozen to the ground. Rained like Noah’s flood was a coming, piercing the ears with staccato tapping on all the windows. Then a high gust pushed out the rains and the winds began to blow all night long. The wailing winds seem to wrap the entire house, shaking the windows as the air pressed against the panes. I had myself tightly wrapped up in bed. Layered in blankets and warmth. Still my dreams were all about being lost at sea, walls of waves pushing down on me and my little boat. The sound of the wind became the water rising and falling around me. When I could sleep that is, waking every hour to the baying getting louder and louder, I fluxed between my dreamscape boat and winter outside. The winds blew until they became hoarse and by morning they were left to a scratchy congested cough.

I’ve lived in this Midwest tundra all my life. The wind means spring is beginning her work. Well, really it means winter has gotten cocky, she brews her cold winds deep in her belly now, inhaling wide or as my Pilates instructor would say “laterally from the chore,” and then she exhales her bitter breath over this town like she is finally the ultimate ruler of this peninsula. This is her territory. Except she always exhausts herself. She always huff and puffs right before she’s done. If you pay attention and try to notice, you hear the shifting of the winds and know the weathervane moves toward spring.

Spring. I believe we are misguided to think she is solely the token of youth. Though when we think of her we know her to be beautiful, her fragrances linger in the noise; she holds the patent for those sweet smells on the nape of our necks. Except Old Spice. I don’t think spring would even claim that one. Spring is more than our token youthful beauty. Lovers and desire pay homage to her grace – she is romance’s conception. Yet she is more. See, spring, she’s on the scene now, but no one notices. We never know her until she has femme’d up for us. She’s here though, without her make-up and perfume, working the fields just like the other seasons.

We claim her when flowers crack the ground, even then underestimating the power she yields. You can see her power from the intensity of her colors so early in the season. She is capable of turning the white tundra into an explosion of color with her extensive palette of hews. Yet even now, before she’s even put on her lipstick, spring is working hard to crack the frozen ground. Spring as we see her, rises from the girth of hard work.

It is patient work. Spring takes hold slowly pacing her work with the sun’s lengthening dance across the sky. She begins her work with the rains and in the subtle introduction of a warmer breath between winter’s bitter roar. She caressing winter’s solid hand while simultaneously nudging her seeds to begin to awaken.
It is ugly work. She is the rains that first come in dingy spurts. The sewer scent of the muddy world unthawing is a reflection of her scouring the dirty salts and exhaust of our modern existence layered in everything cold. We blame winter’s course temperament for these days when it is sunny or raining and then blowing snow storms our way. It is not winter’s labile nature, but spring here now, without her dress, getting ready for her party to come. She is working now. Working hard before she even gets dressed.

No comments: