The Purpose of Spring

Ferns unfolding toward the sun — stretching out to touch spring

It is springtime in Bow. The darling buds of May are in full carpet-bloom along the fenceline and behind the random woodpiles around the property.  They will grow into a prickly scourge by summer’s end as their fruit ripens and then dies on the vines because I am not courageous enough to venture into the scratchy jungle for almost a pie’s worth of picking.  Of course, our ruminant children (Thor, Lydia, Reggie, Alice and Theo) may harvest the tender young leaves and force these young blackberries into submission by eliminating their ability to photosynthesize.  It’s a likely possibility.

It seems that the purpose of spring is to give every species a new fighting chance.  Here come the blackberries; will they survive the goats?  The trilling cacophony of newborn birds, the pairs of visiting wild ducks that occasionally take refuge in our seasonal and shrinking pond, the green of everything… Here it comes.  How long will it last?

The awakening of what seemed dead, a hibernation of sticks, now turns to buds, leaves, blooms.The purpose of spring is new life.  A fresh start.  The ferns are little lawn fairies, popping up in unlikely places, places where they weren’t before, their tight-fisted filigree fingers slowly unfurling to reach out and touch the spring air.  They wave hello in the breeze and I wave back.

The purpose of spring is new life so it is confusing and sad to try and reconcile the season with the death of my dog.  He seemed young because he was little.  But he was old.  He seemed spunky until he didn’t.  We were together for many seasons, but it felt like only a few.  He was my spring, my hope, my daily reminder of the power of routine, and the importance of snacking.  All of the dead winter is softening to new life around my dog who cannot be reborn.  The goats and sheep are grazing on the soft blades of sweet grass near his new ground-home.  There is a tenacious lilac once rescued from a garbage heap scraggly and never-blooming, and it is back again with a few more leaves this year.  Someday it might just provide some shade to this burial site.  And look, there’s a fern.  It is uncurling, not toward the south as all of the others, but toward the grave of my little old dog.  The lacy fingers stretch out as if palm up.  An outstretched offering to the miniature black Pomeranian who slept at my feet for nearly fourteen years. 

The cantankerous old man gets his very last haircut — Fall 2020

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