Spring Awakenings (Bart)

The juncos and horned larks departed for points north yesterday afternoon on a strong south wind. At least this morning all I see is two or three stragglers in place of the hundreds who wintered here. In compensation the mockingbirds are back. Early spring lingers. In fact, more than lingers. It maintains a stranglehold on life that wishes to blossom, like bankers only willing to lend to those who absolutely have no need or desire for it. The peach trees have been stalled in their bloom for three weeks, and the forsythia, amazingly, are not yet finished. This is the third very cold spring in a row, and we seem to be settling back into a more typical, cooler, pattern after thirty years or so of cyclical warming that freaked out those with a restricted perception of natural cycles. In other news, I turned 60 today, though I wish I could say it now meant I am somehow ‘wise.’ What touches me, however, is to look across the orchard and see the beehives. For my fifth birthday my grandfather presented me with a beehive. We built it together, and the bees, ten thousand of them, arrived two days later. Every birthday for a decade, his gift to me was a new package of bees for the spring. Bees have pollinated our crops for millennia, part of a grand design too few of us appreciate. When they come to gather pollen at the greenhouses they seem not like interlopers, but as colleagues.

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