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Mack Williams: Spring with a twist

Mack Williams

When Spring’s warmth begins to pervade, when flower and tree buds swell prior to “popping,” Winter’s cold only hangs on briefly in ponds and streams (liquid holding temperature longer than solid).

The atmosphere’s “mini air-bag” molecules reflect seasonal change first, like a warm breeze blowing directly from a Spring sun (poetic, but not science).

That “fever of Spring” brings forth desire to venture forth to gardening and exercise, wearing about the same amount of clothing as worn in a warm Winter house (not meaning those who have spent the Winter with their heat pump revved up sky high and sitting around next to naked).

In “Doctor Zhivago” (1965), ice crystals on Zhivago’s window “melt-morphed” into a field of “daffodils-gone-wild” (botanical “Spring Break”). Weeks ago, local daffodils broke through the surface of once-frozen soil (though not as frozen as in my youth) to color-coordinate with the sun. Just like us, they were tired of being “inside” all Winter, wanting to come up and “get out of the house” too!

In the choral movement of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, “the worm has his day,” as his Springtime joy (even about being just a worm, alive) is mentioned: “Wollust ward dem Wurm gegeben.” The literal translation of this is “Lust was given to the worm!” (hopefully, this translation will make it through the paper’s censors).

But not all worms are crawling around on plants near the ground. In a Springtime walk, I’ve had to step aside from becoming “eye-to-eye-with-a-worm” dangling from its spun silken thread attached to the high branch of a tree (even suspended in mid- air, he was still making that curly “inch-measuring” thing with his little body).

And of course, those first butterflies of spring which you have been seeing came from over-wintered chrysalises which responded to the warming temperatures by “emerging” (they did the “hatching when they were caterpillars). Just as there was once “The last rose of summer,” the first Spring butterflies came from the “The last ‘worms’ of Fall,” and in a paraphrase: “When caterpillars late in the courtyard chewed” (upon the lilacs therein).

All of that double tropical storm “churning” of last Fall is showing its effect still. I’ve seen some strange things, one of them being a large red bud tree that was toppled over, but still alive, and now blooming along the ground like some sort of “running red bud,” not unlike “running cedar.” I also saw, at a road cut’s base, a particularly rounded “belly-like” clump of mud, now “impregnated” with flowers.

Some trees in bloom are hanging over the tops of road cuts, from where their slipping soil base carried them (making me think of that recently dangling pontoon boat on Polk County, NC’s Lake Adger Dam (for some reason, just now, I want to add an “n” to “dam,” but that would be much worse than Dan Quayle’s “potato-with an-e!”).

These local trees, caught in “mid-slide” remind me of Salvador Dali’s sliding clocks in “mid ooze” over and down a cliff. Where that mud has been peeled away by the deluge (those of last fall, not The Old Testament), rock-face seemingly as fresh as the new flowers has been exposed, but its glint of mica and pyrite is hundreds of millions of years old.

So much sand was deposited from the Dan River’s autumnal flooding that rural children along the river might have received the gift of a sand pile in their backyard (hopefully minus damage to their home by the gift’s “giver”).

So the Spring surrounding me this year seems a little different than Springs past. Of course, the seeds which lay dormant all Winter have sprouted, along with the buds of the trees too, just like they always do; but I can still perceive the effects of the “spikes” of some colossal, Fall, mace-like “aerator” having been rolled across the land, as a part of an overzealous, much-premature “trimming and tilling” preparation for Spring.

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