Tuesday, May 24, 2011

On Spring...

Ah, Spring. When a young man's thoughts turn to love.
Spring comes to Montreal quickly. When I saw this poem the other day, its imagery of the green flame, the conflagration of life, of spring, reminded me of the sudden burst of spring on the Island:


This spring as it comes bursts up in bonfires green,
Wild puffing of emerald trees, and flame-filled bushes,
Thorn-blossom lifting in wreaths of smoke between
Where the wood fumes up, and the flickering, watery rushes.

I am amazed at this spring, this conflagration
Of green fires lit on the soil of the earth, this blaze
Of growing, these sparks that puff in wild gyration,
Faces of people streaming across my gaze.

And I, what fountain of fire am I among
This leaping combustion of spring? My spirit is tossed
About like a shadow buffeted in the throng
Of flames, a shadow that's gone astray, and is lost.

Spring comes to Montreal Quickly. But spring also comes to Montreal like the proverbial double edged sword. It lifts the grinding, grey weight of the last days of winter, true. But it come so very, very quickly. One week, snow, and all the cumbersome accoutrements, all the boots and scarves, gloves and heavy coats. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, hot sun and green grass, flowers and budding trees, shoes with no socks and t-shirts. Even the sweaters, those perfect symbol of spring layering, gone.
Spring was particularly elusive for me this year, to add to the turmoil. A few well timed trips broke up the habitual coming of spring on the Island for me. A return to my ancestral home thrust me back into the cruel maw of winter, a few brief days after the first glimmer of spring appeared on the fair Isle. An epic roadtrip to Syracuse (University conference; work) and then a flight to Vancouver (family vacation; play) further added to the confusion. Syracuse was far enough south to be in full bloom, and Vancouver's climate ensured the cherry trees were pink to greet my coming.
But the Vancouver spring is not the spring of my Island home. It is much more the spring of my ancestral home, cool, and damp, gray. The sun comes more rarely, but is the more welcome for it, perhaps. Fog and rain and mist, with views of the English Bay reminded my of my love of the shore, surely bred in the bone, if forgotten from time to time. Every boy dreams of boats, and pirates, lagoons lost and found, maybe.
Vancouver is a beautiful city, to be sure.
My return to the Island further upset the rhythm of spring. For my Island had turned back the clock, and a week of warm sunny weather (the week, of course, that I was on the West Coast) was displaced by rain, and temperatures easily counted on both hands, and sometimes on one alone.
But yesterday... Ah, yesterday. A true spring day. Sun, but not to hot. Cool in the shade, and breezes. A long walk with someone special, and a barbecue with good friends. Pilfered lilacs (the lilac have bloomed, gentle reader, and my heart is glad for it) as a gift, and naps in the cool evening air.
A very fine day indeed, gentle reader. A very fine spring day indeed.

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