Ponder this:

Saturday, March 20, 2010

in just-

This whole past week has been sunny and increasingly mild, culminating yesterday, appropriately on a Freedom From Workweek Friday, with sixty degrees of sun. The softness of the velvety air made my skin feel all ripply. I know how the birds feel, yelling their exuberance at the lush promise of the season. Between my roadside mailbox and my driveway, the snowmelt runs down the sides of the country road. As I turned off the road I stopped the car to soak up the sound of the water burbling over the driveway's shale, roiling and bubbling as it ran gushing into the ditch.

I put the car in the barn, dropped the mail on the counter and the dogs and I burst outdoors for a walk . . . something we haven't been able to do for months.  We've been able to step-step, slide-slip, tiptoe and trudge for a long time, but a walk has been impossible or impossibly uncomfortable.  Off we skipped down the driveway, the dogs far ahead of me, thrilling to be out and not quivering with cold, sucking and snorting up all the snow-buried smells that have been opened to their eager noses, reading all the news of the winter that we hope is past.  Up the road, keeping clear of the rivulets (me), and duck-paddlefoot-slapping through them (dogs), we went. I found a sturdy stick just the right length and, in the ancient country tradition of late winter, poked the leftover rotted snow into the roadside runnel and cleared oak leaf obstructions out of the way of the water, watched swirls of mud appear and disperse. It occurred to me that I might be helping the road wash away, but how satisfying to be helping Spring come in!

The upper driveway is still too deep in snow to make a loop of our walk, so upon reaching its mouth we reversed and returned. 
It was hardly an aerobic exercise, this walk . . . too many stops to wash my senses in the gifts of such a day.  
It might not have done my body any good . . . but oh! what it did for my soul!
 in just-

      in Just-
      spring       when the world is mud-
      luscious the little
      lame balloonman
      whistles       far       and wee
      and eddieandbill come
      running from marbles and
      piracies and it's
      when the world is puddle-wonderful
      the queer
      old balloonman whistles
      far       and       wee
      and bettyandisbel come dancing
       from hop-scotch and jump-rope and
      balloonMan       whistles
      e.e. cummings


Fran Hill said...

Haven't seen this poem for years, not since I was a teenager. It brought it all back! It goes very well with your lovely description of the walk, too.

Jinksy said...

The rushing water sounds sploshed inside my waterlogged brain a treat - thanks for the stick poking exercise which let them flow free! I'm sure you'll get the picture... LOL

threecollie said...

Great minds must think alike. I had been thinking of this poem for the past several weeks and used a quote from it today too. lol

Bonnie Zieman, M.Ed. said...

Delightful in every way!

June said...

And here is a group of people who have a hard time typing/spelling, critiquing "in just-":

Wanda..... said...

I remember my first real walk of spring, 2 weeks ago! It was rejuvenating, although I did slip and slide on a hillside and managed to clear it of snow with my behind.

Betsy Banks Adams said...

I love the way you write, June. You have alot of talent in that area. I enjoyed your descriptions of the early happenings in spring. I could almost hear that water bubbling down the ditches...

The one thing about winter (or any season) is that it easy to forget when the next season starts showing up... Thank Goodness that we do have four seasons--and there is a guarantee that all of them will show up each and every year---just like the sunrise..

Have a great weekend.

rachel said...

'Aerobic' walks aren't the ones you remember, or that feed the senses; your stop-and-start walk sounded just right.

And poking at something with a stick is always a joy!

Carolynn Anctil said...

What a joyful picture you've painted! I can just see your dogs sloshing around in the muck, grinning their doggy grins and loving every minute.

Happy First Day of Spring!

Friko said...

isn't it wonderful; there is hope that Spring is truly on its way. Benno and i lift out feet a little higher, our steps are a little jauntier and his nose greets all the messages his friends have left for him with glee.

Lord Wellbourne said...

Isn't it wonderful to be able to walk out of doors without second-guessing whether or not to bring climbing gear to negotiate the snow drifts? I've been at it all the day long tidying up the grounds around the house. Slogging and sloshing my way to sheer bliss. Oh, the smell of turned dirt and sunlit moss!! The feel of a rake and a wheelbarrow rather than a shovel and snow blower.

Wonderful, sensual post--as always.

Anonymous said...

There was high hopes we would see warm weather but tonight and tomorrow is rain and that changing to snow showers. Spring is not here yet.

I enjoyed reading your post.

Midlife Roadtripper said...

Growing up in Minnesota, I remember when the thaw came long enough to chip with a spade at the ice gathered at the end of the driveway. Felt so freeing to send the chunks up onto the mounds beside the driveway. Seeing water on the concrete that was wet and not frozen - such a hopeful sign of spring. And the promise of barefoot weather to come. Favorite time of my childhood. Still now.

June said...

Fran, I have never been crazy about the poem but it does capture the feeling, doesn't it?

Jinksy, oh yes. I get your picture very clearly!

Threecollie, it's the "mud" part that brings it to mind, iddent it?

Bonnie, thank you. I like being "delightful." :-)

Wanda, doesn't the first walk just make you feel as if it's been worth living through winter??? Clearing the hillside path with your butt must have been a damp experience! :-\

Betsy, thank you for that compliment! I think I've told you that one of the reasons TN appeals to me so much is that "all-four-seasons" feature.

Rachel, you're right. This kind of walk is memorable, and I've come to feel that anything that's good for my soul is good for my body, anyway.

June said...

Carolynn, the dogs were soooo relaxed when we got back home...relaxed and satisfied and happy!

Friko, walking with a dog or two really enhances the whole experience, doesn't it? As good as it feels to us, it has to be a million times more rewarding to them.

LW, oh yes...*turned dirt smell*...l'eau de printemps. Such a different, more constructive feeling than clearing snow!

Mr. Lincoln, I am always so flattered when you stop by and leave a comment. Thank you.

Midlife J, you've confirmed my "ancient ritual" idea. I think it's a universal human urge to chop and chip and clear away the old ice and snow as soon as there'a a warm breeze flying by!

Barb said...

How did you get so far ahead of me? Is it because your husband is gone, and you have time to write? Mine is not gone...

We walked today after a foot of snow on Friday. The sun was out. Melting slush was everywhere. I think maybe, just maybe, spring is here in Denver, too. (Oh - let it be true!)

June said...

Barb...on weekend nights, I do my four-hour sleeping thing and write from 2-ish to 6-ish...and then go back to sleep. I'm much less productive during the workweeks when I can't indulge that peculiarity.

June said...

Meant to say, Barb, that I hope spring is coming for you too. SO rejuvenating!