First day(s) of springBy
I’m sorry I didn’t think to check on the exact instant of the equinox in order to give Venice an appropriate little salute. I knew this anniversary was imminent and now I’ve discovered it was two days ago.
In any case, most of the signs have been with us for a while now. I can report that March came in like a lamb, but seeing how screwy the weather has become, I have no idea what sort of animal its departure is going to resemble. Maybe a bumblebee bat or a star-nosed mole. I’ll let you know.
Yesterday we rowed to Sant’ Erasmo to forage for some carletti. Unhappily, we didn’t find any at all, which is slightly disturbing (check one “sign of spring” off the life list). So we brought home a big bag full of dandelion greens instead. Lino’s happy because he says it’s good for “purifying the blood.” My grandfather did the same, he said, by dosing himself with blackstrap molasses. That’ll wake you up, no matter what it may do to your blood. I intuit that this instinct is somehow related to the rousing-from-winter-lethargy/hibernation process we watch on the Discovery Channel.
Speaking of rousing, though, I am still awaiting one fundamental sign of spring, which is the blackbirds singing at dawn. Every year I have heard one — evidently assigned to our neighborhood by the Chief Herald — which began to sing exactly at 4:00 AM. It was uncanny. I’m not saying I’ve been getting up at that hour specifically to hear it, though it would certainly be worth it. But considering that I’m up anyway, its solitary cadenzas always made the morning beautiful even while it was still dark.
So far, I’ve heard one (1) blackbird singing at 6:30 PM. Of course it can sing whenever it wants to, but I cannot fathom why I’m not hearing any before then. Frankly, I don’t understand how the sun — or me, for that matter — has managed to rise without it.
At any rate, my favorite phase of spring is already past. Anybody can love spring when the flowers begin to bloom (I’ve already seen early blossoms sneaking out of their buds on a few plum and almond trees, and of course there will be a deluge of jasmine and wisteria before long). But I love spring when the weather is still cold and unfriendly but you can just begin to detect tiny wisps of earlier sunlight and see even tinier buds on the trees just beginning to expand with their extremely tiny leaves, awaiting some signal I’ll never detect.
Once the daffodils come out, spring is so obvious that I consider it to be essentially over.