Friday, March 20, 2009

Raucous Spring

Even though it's quite chilly this morning, at least we can celebrate the fact that it's the astronomical first day of spring. And the birds know it, too. The bird chorus has been getting more and more raucous these days...louder, more varied, more songs of different species. I love it! It's hard to stay grumpy when listening to birds singing.

A month or so ago, David told me that his expert birder friend had explained that the singing of cardinals that I was hearing in mid-February was not a sign of emerging spring, as I wanted to think it was, but only the birds' response to an occasional warmer-than-normal day. I have to say I was a little disappointed. Make that very disappointed. I liked thinking that those richly red male cardinals were sensing the first faint signs of spring's emergence and heralding that news to the rest of us (well, really, to the eligible female cardinals among us). 

This happened right around the time of Imbolc, the Celtic/Irish first day of spring, February 2. Imbolc means "in the womb" and refers to the lambs gestating in the wombs of ewes--I love that way of thinking forward in the circling of the seasons, marking the beginning of the season by noting what's on the way, before it has fully arrived.

Eventually at this time of year the birds start singing not only on those occasional warm days but because they "read" the lengthening of daylight, and then they sing a lot, and they sing on grey days as well as on sunny days. (And they don't bother with silly conventions like Daylight Savings and changing clocks!) 

So here's to spring and to birdsong, to melting snow, swelling buds, and "all that juice and all that joy," to quote Gerard Manley Hopkins. 

And that (somehow) reminds me that I gave this post the title "Raucous Spring" in a bow to Rachel Carson, without whom our springs might be a whole lot more silent. God forbid. And thank you, Rachel.

1 comment:

Karlotta said...

Hear, hear! Bring on the "juice and joy" - I think I can feel it flowing already.