A decent day is promised after two days of high winds, rain and cold temperatures. It’s hard to give up an early June weekend to inclement weather — hard on my mind; hard on my body; hard on my creativity. In the face of the cold and rain, though, I slept late Saturday morning, sleeping away some small part of the past five months’ anxiety. For a few extra hours on Saturday, I lived in a dream world where I did not prepare to wake early to drive to Illinois, rise early to care for my mother, focus emotionally for her funeral, travel north to Minnesota for her burial. For the first time in months, I slept Saturday without direction.
Spring arrived in northwestern Minnesota during the final week of my mother’s illness. My travels to-and-from Illinois — began in the subzero cold of January — ended in the soft warmth of early May. The flowering plum trees, red trillium, Canada windflowers, and grape hyacinth followed me north from Illinois to Minnesota in their regional variations. Dissolved were the snowdrifts and frozen ponds. Trumpeter swans and sandhill cranes, red-wing blackbirds and warblers filled the air with calls and songs. Gone were the early morning frosts. Oaks and aspens opened their buds. The sweet scent of spring was everywhere.
It has been almost a month since my mother passed. I slept late on Saturday morning, exhaling finally after months of tension, exhaling after months of letting go. I walk now along the shrubline in northwestern Minnesota. Early mornings take me down gravel roads listening for sandhill cranes in distant fields, flushing up sharptails and mallards resting in ditches. I saw the first fleabane blossoming last evening. Two days ago I photographed the first wild rose. Canada windflowers sway along the road edges; tiger swallowtails dance among the shrubs; swamp laurel blossoms in the bogs. Dames’ rockets and red-osier dogwoods paint the woodlots in splashes of color.
The poet Robinson Jeffers wrote –
Consider if you like how the lilies grow,
Lean on the silent rock until you feel its divinity
Make your veins cold, look at the silent stars, let your eyes
Climb the great ladder out of the pit of yourself and man.
Things are so beautiful, your love will follow your eyes…for
What we love, we grow to it, we share its nature.
A decent day is promised today after two of high winds, rain and cold. I walk along the shrubline in the early morning sun. The harshness of winter has passed. The smells of early-summer swirl around me. I hear the sounds of geese and kingbirds and magpies. Slowly I climb out of my sorrow. The world is so beautiful….
Jeffers, Robinson, “Sign-post.” Selected Poetry of Robinson Jeffers. Ed. Tim Hunt, 504. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2001.