Friday, April 27, 2012

'All's right with the world'

It was a most unusual sound. I awoke to the music of falling rain rhythmically pelting the rooftop.

It had been a long time.

Springtime in New England is the stuff of rain interspersed with occasional sunshine, but this year is different.

The past winter brought us mild, dry days; and nature reacted. There were buds on the daffodils as early as February at the summer house. The azaleas were in full bloom on Easter in the front yard. Barren tree branches burst with blossoms and greenery in April instead of May.

“Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night,” wrote poet Rainer Maria Rilke.

Yet despite the intense beauty of the season, we know that something is amiss when a significant amount of time passes with little or no rain.

Grabbing a handful of soil in my kitchen garden, I notice that it sifts like sand through my fingers.

The songbirds are regular guests at our birdfeeder, instead of fending for themselves on fat, juicy earthworms after a rainstorm.

When will the early morning dew that clings to the grass and vegetation disappear altogether?

So this morning I welcomed the rain like a long lost friend.

“I love the rain,” wrote short-story writer and poet Katherine Mansfield. “I want the feeling of it on my face.”

I imagine the foliage awash with life sustaining sustenance, dry roots soaking in a basin of fresh, cool water.

Standing at the picture window, I watch streams of water running down the street and hear the wind whipping the flag by the front door.

Oblivious to the onslaught, a woodpecker lands on the stump of an old oak tree. The black and white-spotted bird with a red patch on his head starts tapping on the weathered wood and dines on insects in the soup.

Later, I look through the bedroom window and see a wild turkey pecking in the wet grass. Intent on a turkey shoot, I grab my camera.

Quietly, I head out the back door and tip toe around the dog kennel, but the turkey scampers into the woods before I can aim and is gone without a trace.

As I walk back to the house, I notice the springy soft cushion of bright green grass and inhale the earthy scent of a world washed clean.   

I recall the poetry of Robert Browning.

“The year’s at the spring / And day’s at the morn; / Morning’s at seven; / The hillside’s dew –pearled; / The lark’s on the wing; / The snail’s on the horn; / God’s in His heaven   / All’s right  with the world!”
A wet world surrounds the summer house in every season.

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