Minnesota Spring: GBMD, approximately

I thought it was still Monday when I set out to transcribe this; I'd had three hours' sleep Sunday night and none Tuesay night, and I'm a bit addled. (I slept 18 hours last night, a personal best.) The occasion for this sleepless extravaganza was the last, mad push to finish, at last, the compost article, which I sent out yesterday. Afterwards I felt rather like a somewhat limp helium balloo that might just drift away over the landscape.

Anyway, I thought it was Monday, but it wasn't, so this isn't really a Garden Blogger's Muse Day contribution. It's even less of one than it should be, because I forgot to post it yesterday.

The poem itself is one I wrote years ago. Even though it's about Minnesota, it applies pretty well to spring here in Montana. I remember writing it after a March visit back east, where I looked around with a profound dis-ease. (I'd grown up there, but I'd been away for a long time.) There lay the snow across the green grass; here came the crocuses, poking their vivid heads up through the grass, through the snow.

Back in Minnesota, and here, when the snow finally melts, the land looks as though it's been scoured. I haven't even seen that first red-winged blackbird this year, but I know he's coming.

Minnesota Spring

Back east
    winter lays so light a hand
    crocuses push through the snow
    and when it lifts,
             all's green.
Out here, white fades to grey
    to tan, fawn, brown, all greys
    grey clouds above grey fields…
Land so tightly pressed cannot spring back.

Like a fighter hit once too often
    the earth just lies there,
    looking ready to reconsider the whole thing:
    pack it up, pack it in,
    forget summer, retract spring–
Life's on hold–

Except in the air. It supports
    wing on wing.
And in the first brilliant red spot on black,
    balanced, quivering, on a twig bare
    as winter's bony finger, I see intact
the season's promised colors
    all compact.

8 Responses to Minnesota Spring: GBMD, approximately

  1. I see the relevance to MT, for sure. Glad you got the article out of the way. I’m quite familiar with the last minute push. Mmmmm, 18 hours sounds lovely.

  2. I think we are coming out of the gray area now too ! the sun is shining .. albeit almost 6 PM here .. can some one honest to god sleep 18 hours ?? .. I knew you had to catch up but wow ! I want to do that too now ! LOL

  3. Melanthia–I’d call it a bit much, actually, especially as I woke with a splitting headache. Go figure. Gardening isn’t the only thing I go overboard with.
    I wouldn’t have known it was possible, Joy, if I hadn’t done it myself. I figure I’ll be back to normal by June.
    –Kate

  4. I too am going through a no sleep patch. 3 hours is about right these nights – it bloody awful. I want sleep, sweet sweet dreamless repose, why world why do you hate me so?? 18hrs, if that is what i have to look forward to after all these nights, i can’t wait!!

  5. Ah, so true, so true (the poem I mean). You could also teach some of my students a thing or two. Here in NE, they are calling for 6-12″ of snow Saturday night. That would be the largest snowfall of the last two years, and very late indeed. Sigh.

  6. If that’s what you need, Carrie, I hope you find it.
    Thank you, Benjamin–that’s very kind. I do miss teaching poetry. But maybe this way I’ll find time to write some.
    –Kate

  7. I planted strawberry plants on Saturday not epxecting the snow to come at all Saturday night. Do you think they will be dead and need to be replaced?

  8. Welcome, Bill. No, I think there’s a good chance they’ll be fine. Strawberries are pretty hardy, and snow isn’t nearly as bad as a dry, deep freeze. (Snow insulates against cold, as long as it falls before the temperatures really plunge.) As soon as that snow melts, you could throw a light row cover over the plants to protect them from the next climatic vagary. Let us know how they do–
    –Kate

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