Wednesday, February 11, 2009

As the earth remembers, so do I.

Warming weather is always exciting, thrilling in a way only the Northerners can understand. There is something tremendously special about the four season cycle- life death, rebirth, etc, etc. As Yul Brenner said, "Et ssssetera, et ssettera..." I really can't get those crisp T's across by typing, can I?

So, as the day creeps towards the sixties, I stand on my porch and look out on what is still a winter landscape- grey and brown and twiggy. No new leaves to soften the lines. But still, the air is redolent with moisture, wiht the smell of earth warming. Our creek is flooded, and this thaw may stay, or not. I know Buffalo well enough to know that this is only a glimpse of the spring that is to come. We may yet go into freezing temperatures, since we are in the beginning of February.

But still, the warm weather sings to us, doesn't it? The grey overcast is pregnant with wet.

Every spring my mind echoes the earth in its thaw. I am reminded of every spring since I can remember- being a teenager in Eldred, walking up to our modular buildings where we had drama. I recall my springs at UB, walking in the moist air smiling at the geese that flock the sidewalks and fields. The spongy feel of damp earth loosening, the promise in the air. For me, it is the spring and fall that are the most evocative.

My past rises again in the spring, and in the fall I feel the ancientness of the dying- the harvest that was celebrated by every culture since the beginning of time, and the last desperate dancing done around bonfires. The impending darkness compels us to frenetic motion. These are our human impulses, the body that we live in responding to the world wihtout our permission.

I think of my husband and my friends who experience S.A.D (seasonal affective disorder) and I think that I kind of envy them. I don't quite get into a funk in winter- I do not experience the sense of my body wanting to hibernate- and in this way I feel that my body is not so well-tuned to the earth. I do not see this as a "disorder" since I see this as an ancient way to be. I do feel bad for my friends, because we live in a culture that turns its back on the earth. Just the fact that we call it a disorder points out how far we are from our environment.

I do not long to hibernate- I long to migrate. In November, when the winds blow cold and bitter, and the leaves have left the trees bony and bare, I struggle not to follow the geese that fill the sky. I will be driving in my car, and a V of geese break from the tree line, and I feel my arms longing to turn the wheel to follow them, to simply drive in their wake, and meet them in their new summer lands. The fall excites me, and the spring saddens me. How strange. My husband feels more alive when the spring comes, and I waken to all my old seasons that stood frozen in me while the snow kept the flowers quiet.

By the summer I am bold and full in my skin, but in the spring I am as raw and tender as the shoots that emerge from the cold earth.

I think of the Industrial Age, when we turned our eyes from the sun and to the clock. When we moved from the land to the city, and our culture left the virtues of the farm behind. I dream of returning to a life that lets us obey our internal seasons. To rejoice in them, if not obey. For now, it is a disorder. How sad.

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