onsdag, mars 12, 2008

Spring Arrives in the North

The sudden arrival of both sunshine and even temperatures in the 40s lifts a great weight from us all up here in the North. Winter will eventually end. We now enter a tenuous window in which precipitation of various forms--for the temperature will fluctuate much--may color the sky a shade of wet newsprint, but it's no longer really winter. Not really.

In Halldor Laxness' sprawling masterpiece Independent People, he describes in the middle portion of the book the agony of the people living on the harsh terrain of Iceland's moors. They are waiting for winter to yield. They are losing hope.

Then, without warning, spring arrives and delivers that feeling they had all given up on. Spring is something, he writes, you never believe in until it is already upon you.

This morning I was reminded of all that not only by the weather we are having now, but by the following, glorious quote from Aldo Leopold's Sand County Almanac, "The Geese Return":
One swallow does not make a summer, but one skein of geese, cleaving the murk of a March thaw, is the spring.

A cardinal, whistling spring to a thaw but later finding himself mistaken, can retrieve his error by resuming his winter silence. A chipmunk, emerging for a sunbath but finding a blizzard, has only to go back to bed. But a migrating goose, staking two hundred miles of black night on the chance of finding a hole in the lake, has no easy chance for retreat. His arrival carries the conviction of a prophet who has burned his bridges.
Credit to Mike for sending along those paragraphs. Thanks, friend.


Blogger Night Editor said...

So nice.

7:15 fm  

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