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Mack Williams: Spring On

Winter was recently attempting its own battle of the bulge, but it would soon be the loser (as was the antagonist of that other “bulge” 73 years ago).

In a recent scene, a chilled setting sun was serving as canvas for western-horizon trees seemingly covered in a pale green, hoarfrost-like, “algal bloom” mist, which upon binocular inspection proved to be thousands of translucent, back-lit tree buds.

I saw one tree still covered with brown leaves, trees on either side bare. They looked just as dead, no buds “springing” yet, but they’re probably just “playing dead.” The tree with the dead leaves likely didn’t even make it past last summer. Dead trees’ leaves seem stuck more fast to their twigs with the “stick-to-it-ness” of death (but no daisies being pushed up there).

Trees which die in Winter are like soldiers in a foxhole gone from a temporary “crouch” to “slumped,” while their living comrades crawl out and go marching on.

Some trees seem hesitant to bud, cautious, like some people; while other trees are running rampant with their budding, impetuous, like some people.

(In an aside, or a ‘veering,’ the green leaves of summer always remind me of the song “The Green Leaves of Summer,” theme music of “The Alamo (1960),” making an impression on me when I saw it as a child one summer at the Salisbury Drive-In. On the way home, I mentally hummed the theme to myself while looking out from my father’s car at leaf-filled summer trees, blackly silhouetted against the slightly less black star-scattered sky (and yes, as the song says: “It was good to be young then”).

The “bluets” are already out, as in my childhood Old Concord Road yard. It’s good that I’ve only seen a few of the smaller-medium butterfly species flying around (sulphurs), because I imagine there’s not much of a meal in a bluet. Hundreds and thousands of bluets would provide great nourishment for a “herd” of butterflies; but I haven’t seen hundreds or thousands of them yet.

The dandelions are blooming, so we can begin making the wine! But in addition to the flowers, there are its greens for salad; but in Nature’s making of this salad, the wild onions were ready first, as they usually are.

Speaking of salad, sadly, some restaurants in Danville closed permanently over the winter. With Spring here, I’m reminded of Cherrathee Hager’s wonderful Spring and Easter artwork on the windows of barbecue restaurants and other businesses going strong.

Pretty soon, the caterpillars will again gorge themselves “silly.” Schiller’s “Ode to Joy” talks of even the worm’s “sensuality of life”: “Wollust ward dem Wurm gegeben.”

Jerry Peck guided us in examining (dissecting) the worms “sensuality” in biology class back at East Rowan.

Some trees’ form-fitting, almost total covering of ivy from trunk to twig (their “BVDs”) can still be seen, soon to be covered over by looser-fitting “clothes.”

In the microcosm of the residential yard, Spring is making itself felt. The human residents will soon feel obliged to trim those little squares, triangles, rectangles, etc. every few weeks or so to prevent the wilderness from taking over again.

Just a few weeks ago, I saw a man pulling his aerator across his yard with a riding lawnmower. The aerator resembled some sort of medieval mace-like instrument with which he was “battering” the soil.

And so the budding plants go “dumb-doggedly” on, as they always have. Their flowers and fruit, powered by their non-vascular innards, inspire the Winter-weary, cardio-powered creatures ( ones of a certain “mindset”) to “take heart!”

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