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irregular times logoCapitalizing on Spring

One thing I really love about springtime is the way that its suddenness reveals secrets about what goes on for the rest of the year. Spring is like a call from the boss at 8:45 AM, when you've come in to work to get things done that you were supposed to get done the previous afternoon. It's honesty.

Outside my wife's office, I see the shadows of tunnels made my mice underneath the snow. During the summertime, the only sight I catch of mice is of their corpses, brought to me by the cats. We got the cats to keep the mice out of the house during the winter. Without a cat around, the mice practically poured in from the fields in late November, and kept us awake at night, scrambling around to remain secret. A little fear of mine was that we had exiled the mice to a slow death outside, but the tunnels show me that the little rodents get along just fine without our oil heating. It turns out that our house is like a shopping mall to them, and staying outside is just a pain in the neck, like having to shop at a natural food co-op filled with stuff that does a great job at keeping you alive, but is not intended to be enjoyed. This is a secret of nature that you won't see on any of those PBS nature documentaries. Junk food is a natural thing, and everybody wants it - even the industrious beavers, the fortune-telling woodchucks, the ecologically necessary wasps, the tired-of-salt-lick elephants. They all want my twinkies, and I'm on top because I've got them. This is a secret that springtime teaches me.

No, I don't want to chop down the rainforests for my chocolate and coffee, and no, I don't think that all those chemical preservatives are doing my body any good. However, I know for a fact that even the guy at the co-op who wears a floppy woven hat to keep in his carefully distressed dredlocks, and has a piercing that shines in the shadows of his dark beard as it flaps on a laundry-beaten old t-shirt does not really appreciate the recipe for humus that he got out of the newsletter, even though he tells me so.

I'm using whole grains for the pizza crust, but I put on parmesan cheese right out of a can on top.

Spring is for being right about the good things, and letting the good things be strong for awhile without having to remember how quickly they'll die. I feel great having the snow gone today to see that the daffodil tips really have been up out of the ground for a week or so. Back in February when I said that spring was coming and everyone said I was just going stir crazy, I was right. Heck, even the Irises have a couple inches on them. The snow was so thick that it kept a little hot spot right next to the Earth for spring to come on, in a very short way.

Spring ought to be a proper noun. Those who say that spring cannot be capitalized don't know it personally, as a thing that arrives and asks for black coffee and sets to work, asking for subtle payments. Fine, I will keep spring's first s small for the type on the page, but in my head you can know for sure that it's capitalized, in extra big font, in italics.

I'm ready to be unrealistic, to wake up and move stones and let the growing things of the yard move faster than I can, all around me making a patchwork savannah out of the landscape design. The buds are swelling on the bush, and though it will still be a few months before leaves come out of the wood to make sugar, I know that things have gone too far for the snow to stay too long.

Seedlings are growing fast under the grow lights. Now I'm to worry about the fungus that pursues them, and must make my plans to put them in the ground on the verge of too late, out of distraction.

It's now the time for the deer to race for no reason on the hillcrest, stealing farmer's alfalfa. It's the skunk cabbage's unfolding month, the last weeks of walking in the woods before the poison ivy returns to reserve all trails from for hikers with feathers and fur. Until then, the ground will be clearing with its first rot, the disappearance of the winter's refuse, layered between storms and now melting down back into the ground.



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