I went the river today—not Elvsmyr—just a human park along the riverbank. It was glorious. Spring has finally arrived in this part of Wisconsin. I could almost feel the earth vibrating with excitement. Every plant, every animal, and every human was thrilled to be witness to this, the first short sleeve Saturday of 2013.
However, before images of tulips and daffodils fill your head, let me clarify. This is early spring. Only the grass is green. Still, every plant is festooned with quivering buds full of promise of good things to come. Only the oak holds back. Always late to the party, it hides its life force inside tough branches, but on closer look, smooth nubs dot the twig tips. There are others who are off to an early start. The wild honeysuckle is already trumpeting spring with delicate, bright green leaves.Not everyone made it through the bitterly cold winter, or more likely the drenching rains of March and April. A beautiful maple, 40, maybe 50 years old, lies prone, but even its branches are sprouting large teardrop shaped buds. I laid my hand on its trunk and honored it for a moment. Trees, they give so much and ask so little. I walked on, reaching out to the young sapling that will now have a chance to reach toward the sun while spreading its branches. Offering homes to birds, squirrels, and insects and shade to me a simple human.
I close my eyes and listen. The music of the birds makes me smile. In the distance, canada geese honk their displeasure at some intruder. They along with the mallards and ring-necked ducks have paired off, and will soon be raising a new generation of noisy, fluttering waterfowl. The river has a rhythm to it. One that is a pleasure to witness at all times of the year. A swallow swoops inches of the ground drawing my eye into the distance. Rain clouds are rolling in, and it’s time to head home, but I’ll return, again and again. I have to—this is where I bring my troubles. I can feel them drain away, float downstream, and leave me refreshed. Now that’s powerful.