cross posted from The Dream Antilles
This morning I went for a long walk with my faithful retriever dog friend. We live in Columbia County, in eastern New York in the foothills of the Massachusetts Berkshires. The ground in the fields was wet but not frozen, the grass is still brown, and it was about 35 degrees and overcast. We were looking for signs that Spring really was coming.
I know that the Solstice is on March 20, 2008 at 1:48 am EDT. We should be able to find some sign of the impending change of season, if we look for it, right?
Yes! This morning for the first time this year I heard the referee’s whistle song of the red wing blackbird.
A Redwing Blackbird
If you’ve never heard the Redwing Blackbird, try this. The sound I’m hearing is called the “okalee call.” It’s about setting out a new territory for the year.
In this corner of the world, the redwing blackbird is the very first sign of Spring. Before crocuses. Before paperwhites. Before anything. In fact, its basketball referee whistle call usually coincides with the beginning of March Madness. The selections for the NCAA tournament aren’t until tomorrow. The birds are a little early this year.
And so, in celebration of the fact there is a sign that at long, long last spring is about to emerge, and as important, that the northeastern winter is on its last legs, I offer you ee cummings:
spring when the world is mud-
luscious the little lame baloonman
whistles far and wee
and eddyandbill come
running from marbles and
piracies and it’s
when the world is puddle-wonderful
old baloonman whistles
far and wee
and bettyandisbel come dancing
from hop-scotch and jump-rope and
Join me in gratitude far and wee for the coming of Springtime.