A Short Song to a Fugitive Spring
We’ve gone from the harsh skeletal browns and grays of winter to the gentler, softer landscape of greens and yellows, pinks and lavender. Many days the air is cool and the sun hot - those days we see it, that is. It resembles spring, but an elusive, almost fugitive spring, squeezed in between those almost triple-digit heat waves in April and serious rains in both April … and May.
For Deborah Digges; 1950-2009
But the frantic business of spring soldiers on in spite of the topsy-turvy days. Thanks to those surprise rains, the creek still bumbles and burbles along and every bloom and flower is eagerly popping out. Trees have already budded, bloomed and leafed; the roses have gone nuts; petals and blossoms lie thick and crunchy along the edges of paths and sidewalks. Honey bees nuzzle deep in the pink flowering currant blooms, hugging the stamens, their dangling hind legs thick and furry with pollen. A few broods of ducklings have already taken to the ponds, paddling in circles around momma, then trailing obediently along behind when she strikes out for new territory. Some decent sized trout wave around under the algae mats; little fry schooling among them. Turtles pull themselves up the concrete slopes and plop back down the moment anyone gets too close.
From the eaves of Salazar, swallows sweep out, clicking and buzzing in ham-radio frequencies, snapping up insects and bringing back mud, daubing their adobe abodes. Robins stalk the lawns, sometimes eight or twelve of them in rough formation, short little search parties looking for wriggling, wormy treasures;they tweet, twitter, trill among the treetops, riding the breeze-tossed limbs like red-vested jockeys. In Karen Tillinghast’s meadows, brilliant orange painted ladies and dark mourning cloaks and pipe-vine swallowtails flit about; dragonflies, glittering dots of neon blue, zip by on gossamer wings. Goldfinches, bright yellow darts, speed on swift missions from tree to tree, singing their little birdy hearts out. And somewhere, I’ve heard tell, a mother fox has denned up with her kits.
In these last weeks, students scurry about too, wrapping up projects, studying for exams, ready to take their grades, pick up their caps and gowns and get out of town, the professors as eager to dole them out and skedaddle too. The campus is buzzing and busy, racing against deadlines of calendar and climate, cramming it all in before the long hot doldrums of what looks like an unpredictable summer set in; all motion and action before a season of what we know not.