A doe has hidden her fawn in the front field. If I drag my chaise longue close to the wren house and sit quietly, I can hear the babies peeping inside while their parents dash from the wren house to the apple tree, from the apple tree to the woods and back again, bearing take-out which the father announces with a song that seems far too loud for his tiny throat. Our front porch is again besmirched with phoebe poop. The thrifty phoebes first built their nest there three years ago, and they aren\’t about to make a new one while this one is still perfectly good. Yesterday I saw that it is crammed full of chicks.
We are surrounded by nativity scenes, by budding, hatching, birthing, blooming. How can this fertile, speeded-up landscape be the same that seemed so dead just six weeks ago? I know intellectually that the pond where a frog is pizzicatoing was so deeply covered in snow that the dogs and I walked over it routinely, but I cannot hear the crunch of my feet, or feel the cold on my face. The tree branches that alone interrupted the universal whiteness have disappeared under masses of foliage. I stretch out my typing hand and it comes back redolent of mint, chamomile and thyme. No matter how I try, I cannot reenter winter. As Francois Villon said not quite a millenium ago, where are the snows of yesteryear?
It seems to me that we are a species designed for permanence but thrust by mistake into a world of change. How else do you explain our longing for eternal spring, eternal youth, eternal love? Yet, at the same time, I know that by summer\’s end, wearied of the garden, I will long for the killing frost, for the first fire in the wood stove, the first snow. Maybe what our species was designed for is discontent.