I know I write the same things every year, how I go out to the garden and the apple tree is just beginning to bloom (here, for example), or the lizards are mating (here), or I am listening to birdsong (here), and I know that there is a kind of sameness to my posts. But honestly? Is there a way to say how you forget, almost, over the dark winter days and nights, how lovely apple blossom is when you see the first tight clumps begin to open, or when you get out of your car at the local pool and hear warblers, yellow-rumped warblers, and looking up into the big-leaf maples, you don’t see the birds but you realize that the flowers have come out, the fat chartreuse clusters, in just the past week, and that’s why the tree is filled with music, anyway, is there another way? If I could paint, I know I’d be out there with ink and colour wash, trying to put it all down on paper, fine watercolour paper, and if I could think my way into music more deeply, I’d try to notate the songs and sing with the warblers, the red-winged blackbirds, the robins on fine spring mornings, with bars devoted to sapsucker pairs buzzing back and forth, and even the klooks of ravens in lazy circles above the trees where nestlings lie low in their shadow. (Instead, I listen to this.) You forget, and the days and nights are long, and dark, you forget, and then one day it is all in front of you again, inside you again, and you remember a poem you have always loved, Anna Akhmatova’s “A Land Not Mine” and its sublime conclusion (in Jane Kenyon’s translation):
Sunset in the ethereal waves:
I cannot tell if the day
is ending, or the world, or if
the secret of secrets is inside me again.
Instead, I make my notes on old envelopes and share them here with you.