Friday, March 12, 2021

Seagull Sex and Other Sounds of Spring

Spring, the sweet spring

Spring, the sweet spring, is the year’s pleasant king,
Then blooms each thing, then maids dance in a ring,
Cold doth not sting, the pretty birds do sing:
Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!
The palm and may make country houses gay,
Lambs frisk and play, the shepherds pipe all day,
And we hear aye birds tune this merry lay:
Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!
The fields breathe sweet, the daisies kiss our feet,
Young lovers meet, old wives a-sunning sit,
In every street these tunes our ears do greet:
Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to witta-woo!
Spring, the sweet spring!


I have paid more attention to the details of this spring than I have been in years. After a year of worry, misgivings, stops and starts, we have longed for the rebirth of our "normal" lives. Spring vaccinations opened the door to that hope. Each tentative step comes with a general perception of what was. But that doesn't mean every bit of what now is falls into the exact right place.

When I had the nursery, I was fascinated by the spring emergence of plants. Each day I could watch the incremental progress of the season, measuring each new leaf or bud against the calendar . 
I looked so forward to that progression this spring, as we all emerged from our safe spaces. But this year, spring showers were nowhere to be found, so the seeds and plants and flowers just folded their imaginary arms and waited. Dry grass turned brown and crunchy. Deer nibbled away any new growth. Flowers that developed were small and short lived. It has been so dry that we've also missed the delightful melody of spring peepers, when the world should be mud luscious. But that doesn't mean that all sound has faded.

 For example, one might imagine the chirping of songbirds in early morning- a Carolina wren or a Mockingbird - gently tweeting your eyes open as the sun rises. Certainly we've had plenty of that. That seems like a fairly typical sign of spring.  However, I do not remember the raucous screams of the flocks of seagulls on the neighbors dock starting at the break of dawn and continuing non-stop till that last low light of dusk. For days!!

Likewise, the calls of the Osprey pair, building a stick mansion perilously perched on an arm of the neighbor's boat lift, have made me want to run out screaming and swinging a broom at the shrieking stack of sticks.


I heard the maytime robin sing
His merry voice has wakened spring;
Each golden note bursts forth to soar
Where sound and blossom now restore.
The drowsy earth sheds winter's rest
And all that slept find spring confessed
That radiant song that fills the air
Brings good news beyond compare.

The birds proclaim with joyful tune
The raptures of impatient June;
With potent scent the blooming flowers
Perfumes time with fragrant hours
A nest well hidden in a tree
Holds new life we can't yet see;
The crimson rose perfumes the gale
The virgin lily crowns the vale.
Where sun and shadows come to dwell
Seductive spring will cast her spell.

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I enjoy the spring more than the autumn now.
One does, I think, as one gets older.

Virginia Woolf

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