But this is no complaint. This is a tribute to something I didn’t know I was missing.
It has been raining. But not hard enough to warrant shutting the windows. The one above my head is open–a portal to the day break about nine inches wide. I can smell wet earth; there is a warm, moist, almost electrifying scent in the air. This is the smell of grass growing, of plant life struggling forth with a rapidity you can almost track by the clock.
But it is the sound that affects me the most deeply. Over the sizzle of car tires on wet pavement (and above it and behind it) is a chorus I’d forgotten. Birdsong. Hundreds–thousands–of separate voices joined in a tittering of wonder. I know my birds–the Robin’s halloo, loud and brazen; the grackle and grosbeak, the starling and sparrow, the house finch and wren: all of them warble, chirrup and whistle out my window. And I realize that I’ve not heard this symphony for many months. Not since the farewell chorus cried to mother midnight after the first big chill.
But here we are again, after the killing frost. Though, as Thomas Hardy explains,
“That ancient pulse of germ and birth was shrunken, hard and dry,
And every spirit on the earth seemed ferverless as I”
The spring returns to remind us: there is no death but sleep, no departure that is not a return, no end that is not a beginning. It is, I am sure, the message of God, like a thumbprint, marking the turn of spring as a special moment of rebirth.
The earth in her rotation and spring in its season turn us back to the ancient cycle of hope, it’s plainest expression dealt out in the Easter of nature herself.
Birdsong, how I’ve missed you. How wonderfully welcome is your return after a long winter’s night.