Musings on a warm day in Spring

Posted 04.20.04

9 AM: The frost was heavy enough last night that you can walk to the wood pile without sinking into the mud and risk losing a boot. Frozen fossil-like footprints with no pattern cover the ground -- dogs, cats, people, cars, damage from a winter of suffering the snow plow, all to melt and settle out this afternoon with the promised of Spring sun.

There is a transparency in the air found only on these few Spring mornings between winter kill and the new growing season. A deep breath of air invokes memories of a lifetime of promise.

It's here again.

The car creeps slowly up the lane through the mud and ruts, low gears whining, morning sun low on the horizon. There are no birds, the family left at home asleep. I have no pack and carry only the baggage of the Winter past. we are off on a Spring trek.

Silence in the car. We know what to hope for, yet know enough not to broach the subject -- it would kill the mood.

Later someone says "We should have brought a guitar." Nods all around, a good idea but that would be hoping for too much, ruin the magic -- we drive on, still no birds.

A small wooden bridge, Stop sign, trucks, then we hear the river. Roll the windows the rest of the way down and sit and listen and dream as you only can with the rush of ice water challenging summer banks covered in ice flow and winter debris.

Conversation turns to great loves, missed opportunities, plans for the future, and what should have been. All as unconceived as the slowly melting pattern of prints in the frozen mud we left behind in the lane.

As the sun breaks the tree tops we stop in a shallow valley. A homestead, weathered wood on outbuildings, some in disuse, planting beds outlined beneath the snow, warm welcome all around and friendly greetings from the porch. Much talk of the melting snow. All the comments, salutations, small talk that consumes first meetings are cut short, interrupted by so many observations on the day.

"Look at that."

"If you sit right here you could take your shirt off."

And a noticeable lapse between each appreciation, time to take it in, as if you could hear, anticipate the thoughts of the others.

"I'm going to stand here and soak this up until it ends."

"If I don't get a piece of this day it will escape me."

"I'd forgotten how rich life is."

"We built all this to enjoy these brief moments."

It's 11:30 now, the sun has crested the graceful delicate grey denuded maple tree tops. Zippers going down on vests, sunglasses on and we leave the valley for higher ground and the chance the day will have infected our next hosts.

We are on southern slopes, the frost is coming out fast now and the tires sink deeply to follow the furrows in the road. It's a nice gentle rocking ride if you have faith in the car.

The snow is almost completely off the fields before us which are barren but for old farm relics sitting at odd angles, rusting away. Behind us in the woods the snow has melted away around the tree trunks and there are black circles of mud and water encompassing the large rocks. All the snow that remains has crystallized and is blanketed with the winter fall out of branches, twigs, indestructible oak leaves, and pine needles.

Limbs are dangling out the windows of the car as we reach the hill top above the valley. The view is distracting, not overwhelming or forbidding like so many mountains but the unique and soothing Townships; gently sculpted slopes of hardwood forest .The sun is as high as it will get now and penetrating everything and everyone.

We have been at the Meadow Land farm for an hour or so and a party has broken out. The special sort of laughter and explosive conversation born of a spontaneous gathering fills the air. Our host has put his hands on an old flat top guitar and a box of Stella so we sit in the sun and sing away the afternoon.

David Lapp is a musician and businessman based in Lennoxville, Quebec.

Copyright © 2004 David Lapp/Log Cabin Chronicles/04.04