Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Swamp Concert

March 30, 2010

I should not write incessantly about spring. I do it every year. They say that all writers succumb to springtime and the follies of writing it inspires, and so I, being oppositional, want to prove Them wrong. Perhaps truly gifted writers find and give inspiration on those dullest of February Michigan days when dirty snow piles are all that remain of winter, and grass refuses to consider the color green. I must not be gifted, because I can’t. If I write on those days, it is because something else has inspired me, and usually it is my own fury over the state of society or the idiocy of certain members of my community.
But Spring. I can’t help myself. Out There, I feel things that the poets have already used up. Alive, connected, thrilled. It’s a chorus of earth things calling, croaking, trilling, singing, exclaiming. Something even laughed, and while I’d love to think it was laughing at my leaky polka-dot muck boots, I don’t disillusion myself that I rank as anything other than a mild disturbance out there in the swamps. Peepers peeping away like mad. Cranes warbling somewhere nearby. Red-wings trilling and flirting. Cardinals, robins, chickadees all change to their spring dialect. I found fern clumps starting to swell, and a fallen tree that was collapsing last fall is now only soft red, fibrous dirt snuggling down to become new flooring in the woods. Ducks don’t seem to belong somehow, in their colorful, carved looking perfection. The wood duck sits awkwardly in a tree momentarily, trying to balance on those silly feet. I tell it that ducks don’t sit in trees, so it obligingly flaps down and finds its way to the water with a great deal of commotion.
Tansy drops her stick and bounds into the swamp to chase a surprised muskrat. Muskrat disappears beneath the water and swims her way through the murky stems while Tansy looks after her in surprise. What kind of cat or squirrel can jump into the water and swim away?
I see Deb’s tent is up, blending greyly into the tree trunks. She must be watching the fox den again. I wish I could take a week off from work and do the same, but Tansy would ruin the experience, I am sure. I wonder if the foxes know?
Where once we skated, now bugs skate on black water. The ice is gone and duckweed rims the edges. I spy a delightfully lowered tree trunk, curved to form a swing and just skimming the water’s surface. Knowing my boots will be full of water in seconds, I decide it’s worth the wet to find a perch on that curving trunk. Feet wet, but soul is content. I am sitting on the water and the swamp settles into its un-practiced, unharmonious concert again.
I am torn between wanting to share it and wanting to keep it to myself. I want to tell you not to miss a moment of it, but I want to own it exclusively. It is mine, and it should be everyone’s. Today it sat in my boots and under my palms. Every sense was engaged, including one that only happens in the spring. The sense to come home and write, to strive to capture what no camera, video, or paintbrush can. It is hearing the birds and frogs, plus seeing the green things, plus feeling the bark under my hands, smelling the black muck on Tansy’s fur, and tasting the wild chives as I walk past a tree festooned with white fairy mushrooms… it equals … This.


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