Spring is a Time for Awakening

Maple ree flowers and leaves 1Though I am fonder of some than of others, for me every season has its unique blessings. Autumn has always been a favorite of mine because I like the crispness of the air and the vivid colors that paint the scenery. However, the cycle of the seasons produces different feelings in everyone and we all have our favorites. It may be that as a poet I am more sensitive to or pay more attention to the change of the seasons because I feel it so keenly. Winter for me is a time for rest and often for extra sleep. The dark hours encourage it. During the winter, like the bare branched trees and the hibernating creatures, I am less active and more inclined to quieter occupations.

It’s easy to sleep late in the winter. The light does not come through the curtains until morning is well advanced. Chilly weather does not encourage leaving warm covers for frigid floors. Yet as the light hours grow longer and the dark ones shorter, the day calls to me sooner and sooner. Reluctant as I may be to get up from my bed, it becomes less alluring to linger than to rise into the day. Even as the trees and the birds greet the brightening weeks, with the spring, something in me begins to wake up.

Winter encourages me to make soups and stews. My pantry and refrigerator are stocked with warming foods. With the advance of spring I think more about salads and lighter meals. I toss the cold weather recipes that I have accumulated yet not found time to make and clip out more recent ones geared to fresher, less sturdy meal components. Now that I can see it, when I look around at the winter dust on shelves and surfaces, I feel more diligent about eliminating it. Somehow when I can’t see it, it is so much easier to ignore. Now it no longer is.

When I was out and about, my eyes had become accustomed to bare trees sleeping in the cold. All winter I admired the still shapes of the bare branches against the sky. Now as the trees blossom and leaf out, they seem to be dancing with joy. The spring breezes flutter the trees’ new emerging clothing as they dress themselves in their fresh spring wardrobes. When I go about my errands, my heart sings along with the turning wheels of my car.

When I used visit my daughter in Italy, she would come into my room of a morning to waken me from my jet-lagged sleep. She would open the curtains and turn to me as I clung to my pillow. “Wakey, wakey,” she’d say with a smile. Finally I’d open my eyes and greet the day, glad to be awake and alive, ready for a new adventure. Spring feels like that. It is time to pursue the new, the untried, the innovative. Time to put away the darker, heavier winter clothes and put on light, bright colors and fabrics, to free the feet of boots and don sandals. Time to awaken to the new season and to rejoice in it.

About Time

Pictures of Italy '11 073

Oh what a lovely dance it is

the advance and retreat

of the tide of time

uncurling, unfurling buds of leaves

then painting them bright,

red, orange, and gold with cold

fingers whatever lingers.

Then white swirls bleach the brown

pristining the town and the countryside

until the tide of time grays down

the crusts remaining. Dancing in

and dancing out hours accordion

shaping the light, day and night,

over and over again.

The merry go round goes round

and the sound of the wind, and

the sound of the rain beat time,

and again repeating the long refrain

of warm to cold and light to dark,

brightening sun to glowing sparks

in the sky, as stars revolve.

The roundelay dance of time

circles us in and circles us out

as we with the seasons sing our songs

joining our voices to make a chorus

of all the singers from now and then

as time swings round and back again

with the swirl and swoop of stars.

Robin’s Garden, by Tasha Halpert

More leeks for copyMy late son Robin was a gardener by nature. He loved plants and grew them with joy. Whatever he chose to plant grew well for him. He loved growing his own vegetables and harvesting them to cook for himself. As do the Native American peoples, he believed in giving back to the earth whatever was taken from it. Toward that end when he harvested his vegetables he would always give back something to the ground where they were planted.

He helped me with my garden when I had one, however my gardening days are now over and I no longer have the physical space to grow seeds and plants. Nevertheless, each spring I grow something in his memory. I call it Robin’s memorial garden. I create it not with seeds but with recycled carrot tops. I always have carrots in my refrigerator. Carrots are one of my staples.

My vegetable drawer is never without a package of organic carrots–you never know when you’ll need one for soup, salad or just a vegetable for a meal. In the spring, when I take them out, the tops often have sprouted just a bit. These sprouts are my cue to begin Robin’s annual memorial garden. I cut about a half to three quarters of an inch or so off the top of each sprouted carrot and place it in a shallow dish on my kitchen counter.

There they will get some light. After a while green feathery tops appear. These will grow until they have exhausted the nourishment left in the carrot. This is what I call Robin’s garden. Sometimes the carrot stubs grow little roots. I have read that if I were to plant them–which I have not done, they might grow another carrot. I watch with pleasure the little green sprouts grow and think of my son and his green thumb.

While he is no longer growing anything on Earth, his life has inspired wonderful growth here, both for me and for his sister, my daughter Laura. She has done and continues to do valuable work to bring awareness of and assistance to those with traumatic brain injury. In life, Robin sustained a number of concussions as a result of his enthusiastic pursuit of ice hockey. Today my daughter has not only written extensively about traumatic brain injury she has also worked as an advocate to be of help to those with this condition.

In the year after he died I decided to create a body of work in his memory. He loved poetry. As a memorial to him, I began a deliberate focus for myself on what I call the poetic eye: a way of looking at life from a poetic perspective. Since his death I have written many hundreds of poems. This work is also dedicated to him. I know that there are others who have been inspired by him as well. He goes on living in their efforts. While I regret deeply that he is no longer on earth, I celebrate his life with my remembrance and with these little carrot tops that I grow each spring.