Spring Is Sprung

March 20th, 2017 12 Comments


Loveliest of trees, the cherry now

Is hung with bloom along the bough,

And stands about the woodland ride

Wearing white for Eastertide


Now, of my threescore years and ten,

Twenty will not come again,

And take from seventy springs a score,

It only leaves me fifty more.


And since to look at things in bloom,

Fifty springs are little room,

About the woodlands I will go

To see the cherry hung with snow.


A Shropshire Lad, A. E. Housman


My father used to send me poems when I was away at school or college, and this—along with pretty near everything else A. E. Housman wrote—was one of his favorites. It is one of mine, too. It resonated when I first read it, precariously typed and with frequent corrections made in my father’s singular, elegant, elongated handwriting, and it resonates with me still.

California is a monochromatic state, not given to the lush greenness or seasonal riot of color we associate with eastern states or European countries. Its nickname, the Golden state, is a reference to the fortuitous discovery made at Sutter’s Mill in 1848, but it is also a tip of the hat to the ubiquitous golden grasses that cover every inch of the place, save the Mojave desert and the golf courses of metastasizing urban areas, from the Oregon line to the Mexican border.

But this year, after the coldest and wettest winter in (insert the number quoted by your favorite news source) years, an abrupt week of sun and warm temperatures has turned my part of the world into an Impressionist painting. The first shy blush of green on the cottonwoods, grass as rich and dark green as Ireland, jonquils, hyacinth, forsythia, and a riot of fruit trees, fruit-bearing and flowering only, in every lovely color, with great patches yet to come on the mountainsides that will eventually be poppies and lupine, all of it evoking the rituals and ceremonies and traditions of Easter and the world awakening. The deer are all blowing their coats and look decidedly shabby. The redwing blackbirds have returned, and on a nearby lake I saw a cinnamon teal. He might have been lollygagging there all winter long, but it pleases me to imagine him resting on his northward migration, another harbinger of long summer days to come.

Of course, the forecast calls for cold and snow next week, but it is lovely as long as it lasts, and what more can a man ask?

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  1. Anonymous says:

    So beautifully written !! Thank you !!

    Nancy Gallinger

  2. Anonymous says:

    The Land of Four Seasons your neck of the woods is…I remember it fondly.


  3. Anonymous says:

    Hello JP,

    I recently saw pictures of the impressing and btightly colored seas of blossoms that flourish currently in the Sierras and the Mojave Desert….
    I’m happy for you 🙂 !

    Best wishes

  4. Anonymous says:

    Love this, I love where I live, the mountains are green and full of color. Thanks for these sweet words.


    • Anonymous says:

      Hi Jameson

      Enjoyed the poem. How wonderful of your Dad to have sent you poems. You seem to have had a very special relationship. Spring is slowly showing up where I live but the grass is brown and still covered in snow in a lot of places. No buds are on the trees or bulbs peeking through the ground. Still love living here with the four seasons to enjoy even though winter always seems like the longest one.
      Nancy Ontario Canada

  5. Anonymous says:

    I think we might actually get Spring sometime in April if we are lucky.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Once I was seven years old.


  7. Anonymous says:

    Je vois toujours arriver le printemps avec bonheur. Toutes ces couleurs qui apparaissent dans la nature !!!! Je suis toujours en admiration devant toute cette diversité de couleurs et de senteurs !!! Les oiseaux aussi se réveillent et le matin, lorsque je les entends chanter, je me dis que la journée va être belle !!!!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Dear JP,
    Not only are you a good writer, but you write good. It is rare that people do both.
    I check on your blog semi-weekly as a respite from what seems now like a word gone mad.
    In truth I didn’t start checking your blog until after a well established routine of watching my favorite CBS detective shows of the 80’s to relax at night. At this point in my life my friends tease me for mouthing the words. After so much repetition the words, stories, jokes, and mysteries do very little to tax my mind and actually give me rest. And a smile.
    Since the only poems my father shared with me were about a freakish man from Nantucket I cannot relate to your paternal bonding over prose. This might explain my affinity for tv detectives. Or, as Freud once said, ‘Sometimes a cigar is a just a cigar.”
    In all, thank you for being there and doing what you do and doing it so well.
    In closing. Last year as the Trumpster was yet to get the nomination I asked when you would stop calling him the Trumpster. I now have the date. February 17th.
    Please never stop posting. I don’t always agree with you, but you make me think.
    Love your posts
    Ken from Dallas

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