Nothing like a surprise gift of flowers from a friend and a quote from Rainer Maria Rilke to entice spring to show itself.
The sun is shining and the children are bouncing off the walls. They are also bouncing balls off the walls. They are bouncing their bodies off of furniture. They are bouncing off each other. They are taking out spring/summer wardrobes. They are begging for bikes and scooters. They are adding baking soda to vinegar – for fun. (Yes at this very moment.) Every year they crawl out of their skin on the first few days of warmer weather.
Today is the last day of March and I have made the official diagnosis: spring fever.
Although spring officially arrived about 10 days ago, the cold weather and snow made it near impossible to welcome spring in our house. We clung to winter verses and winter stories of King Winter and Jack Frost. Spring crafts were met with less enthusiasm. Going outdoors was still met with resistance as we layered on woolies, and as we creatively combined snow and rain gear. (#4: “Well, I get cold on top but I don’t want my snow pants to get soaked because they get heavy. So winter jacket and rain pants?)
The changing rhythm of the seasons leads to a changing rhythm of the household: a vitality is re-discovered, an active physical energy is awakened.
In response to this start of out breath, this beginning to exhale, I decided to start the morning with a spring poem right after breakfast.
I read the following poem with #2 (the Ocean), #3 (the Moon), #4 (the Rosebush), and #5 (the Robin) and they acted out their part and repeated their line after I recited it:
A Robin said: The Spring will never come,
And I shall never care to build again.
A Rosebush said: These frosts are wearisome,
My sap will never stir for sun or rain.
The half Moon said: These nights are fogged and slow,
I neither care to wax nor care to wane.
The Ocean said: I thirst from long ago,
Because earth’s rivers cannot fill the main. —
When Springtime came, red Robin built a nest,
And trilled a lover’s song in sheer delight.
Grey hoarfrost vanished, and the Rose with might
Clothed her in leaves and buds of crimson core.
The dim Moon brightened. Ocean sunned his crest,
Dimpled his blue, yet thirsted evermore.
– Christina Rossetti
It’s an informal poetry reading to warm up our speech and our bodies this morning after a long weekend of busy.
A start of an exhale.
Next comes a short and sweet story from Juniper Tree Puppet’s April Newsletter for #4 and #5 using some of our trusty raindrop and sun wands:
Work/play are done in spurts today. A little weaving here. A little indoor volleyball there. A little storytelling here. A little “potions-mixing” here (remember the vinegar and baking soda?). A little reading here. A little adventure there (balancing on furniture to not touch imaginary lava).
Keeping a full inhale for the morning is difficult with the advent of warm weather. But as I prepare for an April that is going to hit us with another cold spell, throwing our rhythms off again and dancing between seasonal wardrobes, I know this spring fever will break and the vitality may ebb. I struggle with this in-between time myself – balancing urges to purge and the desire to stay in hibernation mode. We struggle with our rhythm as we rely on the seasons – the weather dictating our activities inside and outside of the house. (I hear this often from the kids, “Mother Nature just can’t make up her mind.”)
What gives me comfort is that this struggle is not new or uncommon. All of us in the northern hemisphere understand this malaise. This is not a new phenomenon as George Orwell writes in Some Thoughts on the Common Toad:
After the sorts of winters we have had to endure recently, the spring does seem miraculous, because it has become gradually harder and harder to believe that it is actually going to happen. Every February since 1940 I have found myself thinking that this time winter is going to be permanent. But Persephone, like the toads, always rises from the dead at about the same moment. Suddenly, towards the end of March, the miracle happens and the decaying slum in which I live is transfigured.
Maybe towards the end of April, spring days will be the norm and not the anomaly. We will see/feel/hear/smell the miracle: the green, the warmth, the animals, the thaw. That is my task for the next month – feeding the spring fever by finding warmth through poetry and movement and telling story after story about the coming miracle of spring.
How are you handling the in-between season of “winter/spring”?
Inspired by today’s writealm prompt…and writing about our morning on the last day of March: