What does spring hold for a man my age? Technically, I am not old. It was only last year I received my first invitation to join AARP, but I have to confess that my passport to randy/rowdy spring revelry has expired. If I ever had been inclined towards spring break in Florida, I no longer would be as it would most likely interfere with my occupation as Chief Obituarian of the house.
So if spring doesn’t cause in me a bacchanalia of spirit, what does it do for me? The increased daylight does provide me with more energy and warmer temperatures make it easier to be outside for more than a few minutes. My wife and I have been walking every day through the still deep snow clear across the field out to a stand of silver maples down by the river to see if the sap is running. There are a few things I’ve been noticing along the way. Oh sure, I take note of the geese flying up-river, the tracks of some critter crawling out of hibernation, the coloration of twigs, the swelling buds, the water flowing in ribbons on top of the river ice, but what I’ve really been eyeing up is an old sagging shed to see what I can salvage from it for a chicken coop. And there’s the loafing shed with its dramatically swayed back in need of straightening and the sliding barn door which no longer slides, and of course every time I look at the dilapidated fence-lines here there and everywhere on the property I think of the heifers coming and how tired my arms are going to be digging all those new post holes before they get here. And somehow I am looking forward to all these tasks. I suspect the mysterious powers of spring hold sway over me yet…in the guise of projects The transference of energy, through me, into a thing, into a place. Strategizing, laboring, witnessing change, being surprised, tiring but maybe not even opening the paper to the obituary page…for a while.
Before my attention got hijacked by the needs of our little farmette and maybe the first sign that spring had a grip on me was that my original idea for this essay was to do a hip-hop version of the Homeric “Hymn to Demeter” that famous chunk of mythopoetry which explained everything the ancient Greek needed to know about why spring sprang every year, about the tribulations of mother/daughter relationships, and about the danger surrounding guys named Pluto who drove around in gold cars and had mysterious connections with the underworld. All set to Igor Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring with DJ needle scratches and a rock-solid drum loop. But then I thought that might be a stretch for a rhythmically challenged middle-age white guy living on a hobby farm in northern Minnesota with a plate already overloaded with spring projects but then I thought - what the heck - its spring! Hit it Igor!