Blog

Spring

Four Tulips

Yesterday, I finally saw the beauty of this spring. I had been seeing the evidence of the season everywhere —the pink of the flower buds and the pale green of the new baby leaves, the dogwoods and tulip magnolias, even the first white lilacs just opening. The problem is, the 85 degree days had thrown my sense of timing off. I can’t trust the meaning of all this flourishing life. Is it really the right time for the flowering fruit trees? Aren’t the tulips awfully far along for this time of the year? All of this opening, progressing in its order, informs us where we are in the year, whether we should be gathering fiddleheads and tonic greens, planting the first lettuce and carrot seeds, watching for the first spring runs of shad or salmon. Instead of feeling embraced by the grace of surviving another cycle of swelling, fruiting, decaying, and death, I was weighed down by a vague dread that we may be wrecking some of the systems that have made life so hospitable for us.

But then yesterday I left work early enough that I still had some daylight hours when I got home. I wanted a little exercise, so I set out to clean up the yard. As I dragged the rake over the leaves from last fall, I smelled the dirt, and I started to remember how to see the spring. Not from a car window as I drive around Jamaica Plain, Cambridge, and Concord. Not from the flower beds planted with the Easter altar lilies and daffodils from the Episcopal Church that I walk by after work. But from right here where I was standing, caring for my land. This patch in front of our house is too shaded by woods for a good vegetable garden, although I have had a few green beans from it over the years. It’s mostly naturalized now to violets and a few mint plants. I squatted to clean up acorns that had fallen in crazy abundance in the fall, cracking open now, digging their roots into the soil. I was grateful once again that, if we had needed to subsist on them over the winter as the Algonkian people sometimes did before our ancestors settled here, we would have been quite well fed. I worked until it was too dark to see, tidying the gray pine cones and brown oak leaves, evidence of the dead seasons, away from the new green of the coming-alive season, and knowing that this day, in this spring, on this land, is what there is.

I still think about global warming and feel powerless. I look for where we might find our power to end the reckless dominance that threatens to destroy life as we know it. But I know this recovery is going to be a long haul, and I want to feel alive through it all.

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About Katherine Power

I didn’t set out to be a terrorist. As a student activist, I moved from protesting the war in Viet Nam to waging guerrilla war to overthrow the government….

Recent and Upcoming Appearances and Publications
1/15/2014 Complexity and Social Change, Occupy Radio
10/31/2013 Surrender, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR
10/25/2013 Surrender, Taos Community Theater, Taos, NM

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