Springtime, an Ode to Joy…

Spring is finally here!  The new season obliges a wealth of imagery and descriptions, many of which conjure wonderful memories and heartwarming feeling.  “Fresh, muddy, bright, promising, eagerly anticipated, green, welcomed, crisp, uplifting” are just some that may come to mind.  Springtime is truly nature’s idyll poetry.  It invokes creativity and expressionism, culture and philosophy, and a lingering romanticism within us all.  It is not surprising academics, artists, independent thinkers and philosophers alike have embellished upon its spirit for millennia.  In homage to the lyrical beauty of the new term, we should take pause a moment to think on its meaning and expression…

Spring is more than just one of the four temperate seasons that divide up the year, demarcated by the values of average monthly temperatures.   A portage between winter and summer, the transitional nature of springtime exploits the senses, making us more grateful and appreciative of the simple pleasures of warmth, sunshine, color, smell and sound. Suffusing the bone structure of the landscape is the light of its earthly essence, as spring revives after wintery slumber.  With bated breath we wait for its transmission: a seasonal zenith of blossoming buds and floral jubilation, melodiously serenading emergent fresh philosophies and restored humors. The scenery begins to awaken all around us, yawning and stretching by the melting of snow and the roaring of rivers, as does our minds and bodies with a sense of renewal and regrowth.

We are now at the cusp of the spring equinox, straddling the border between seasons like the prime meridian.  As the axis of the earth increases its tilt toward the sun, we begin to experience longer and longer days.  Frosts become less severe and new plant growth “springs forth” in a long succession while the hemisphere begins to warm, thus giving name to the season.  The blooming of deciduous magnolias, cherries, hyacinth, tulips and lilacs, heralds this newfound warmth.

Yet spring is not without its dramatics.  Unpredictable weather, jet streams, temperature convergences and snowmelt contribute to flash floods, tornados, and supercell thunderstorms accompanied by hail and extreme winds.  Moreover, global warming now sees the shifting of the seasons in which phenological signs of spring occur earlier.  Therefore spring cannot be defined by a particular date, or by a particular set of metaphorical and physical attributes.  Like all things found in nature, spring is wild and temperamental, indistinguishable, profoundly poetic and contingent upon a global interconnected ecosystem.  It compels the authenticity of life, turning the wheel of our cyclic beginnings and ends.  Likewise, spring gives romance back to the pragmatic, faith to the disillusioned, excitement to the sedentary, courage to the passive and thoughtfulness and creativity to the dull.  One can only imagine the soundtrack of spring being something of a classical spectacular, a triumph of spirit blasting through in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, as new life pushes forth in an Ode to Joy, bursting with essence and fervor.  May it sound exultantly through us all.

-Elizabeth Cucnik

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