I have just returned with a handful of wildflowers picked in the field by the vineyard behind the building where I live. I didn’t expect to find so many and so varied flowers that nearby. But spring is that, isn’t it?
The I-didn’t-expect of the year, the springing, the sudden, the surprise, a thunderclap of beauty that startles in its unexpectedness, that ‘springs’ out at you from seemingly nowhere, astounding, astonishing, catching one off one’s guard, without warning it’s there, it’s here, it’s gone: plop! poof! A lightening flash of color, a cacophony of sound, a bouquet of perfumes, a splash, a whirr, a sniff, touch and go, see and gone, in less than no time.
I haven’t even been able to write about it, because in the writing will be the missing. Rather I gaze out the window, I take a drive in the car, I walk a mile, traipse into the woods, gaze across the landscape from a rise, watch the river flow, discover the sudden Jack-in-the-pulpits that appear overnight and that I hadn’t seen since I was a small child in the woods behind my grandmother’s house in Greenwich, Connecticut.
But the next day they’re gone and in their stead are bright pink flowers with twelve dainty petals carefully separated and tiny white daisies with yellow centers and dandelions larger and taller than I have ever seen, yellow buttercups, pink clover flowers and a purple spray peeping up through the grasses.
And the fields that lay fallow all winter are suddenly plowed and two days later sprouting green with corn or wheat or soy or kiwi (yes, kiwi). And the woods! What was only a week ago a skimpy entanglement of brown branches is now a solid, tall wall of green towering against the bright blue sky. The woods change color daily, going from the tender green of newborn leaves, to a darker shade with splotches of white and pale grey as the trees burst into flower.
One day there is rainfall and the next a field which was plowed dry brown earth sprouts the tender corn leaves that will grow in front of your eyes if you have the patience to sit there for half a day. Fig trees have sprouted not only leaves but fruit that grows chubbier day by day, and the vineyard has barely begun to sprout its leaves when the first tiny clumps of grapes, barely the size of a pin head appear with their juicy promise.
From sunrise to sunset things change, shift, appear and disappear in an orchestration of life that is impossible to stop absorbing. I am addicted, I can’t get enough of it, and as I travel inebriated from sunrise to sunset, from bright blue skies to thunderstorms, from starlit evening to foggy morn it is like being in a daze, drunk with beauty, the sound of crickets and songbirds filling my ears, the hoot of the owl at eventide, the church bells ringing up a storm on Easter Sunday I find no time to write for fear that things will be gone before I can see them. The truth is, I have lived in cities for so long that I had forgotten why it was called spring.