chanter_greenie: a lilac tree in bloom (Wisconsin spring: lilac season)
[personal profile] chanter_greenie
This fic is written in trade for an icon made, unprompted, by [personal profile] helgatwb. Thank you very much!

She (? correct me if that pronoun is wrong) asked for a piece dealing with early spring and early morning. Hopefully this fits the bill.


There have already been a thousand verses written about the color and pattern of new leaves, the last glimpses of a region's frost, the pinprick by nailhead haze of groundcover as it sprouts. Don't get me started on the first robin of spring. Believe it if you want, but this particular season isn't burgeoning love and gossamer, all the oft-touted joy of new life flourishing aside.

No, spring isn't fertile silliness. It's honest. For a start, it's scented in layers. Take two steps out a given door on any day in late March and you'll get yourself a noseful of thawing groundwater and damp pavement, whiffs of faintly queasy-making mud deep enough to ensnare a rubber boot to the ankle, the sodden smell of sheeted frozen steel as it turns back to soil. New growth is there--of course it's there--but turn the other way and it's overwhelmed by the chill cleanliness of the lingering snow pack reclining in any wall's shade. That snow defies its own hard-worn dinginess, at least where noses are concerned, and some children never do quite grow out of the everyday amazement of that fact.

The time to the lilacs is measured in weeks, marked out by water-spattered wool socks changing slowly to cotton, north-bound geese in formation and tiny nesting songbirds in the awnings, flannel sheets in the wash, winter coats swapping places with lighter garments in the back of closets. The strawberries are ages away, rhubarb that much longer. Before long, every street's length will be an island in a child's imagination, every bristling evergreen hedge a rainforest ripe with stories, every gap between tree roots the gateway to an underground world just begging to be crawled through and explored, every rickety swingset an airship that is absolutely positively getting off the ground, of course it is, silly.

For now, though--now, outline your mornings in gratitude for solid houses and carpeted floors, your evenings in lengthening daylight, your afternoons in shiver-inducing drafts and stone stairs that watery sunlight can't quite unfreeze. Eel out of your down jacket and be grateful.

That spring is honest.


That's the second time I've done the Wisconsin author thing in response to a prompt. For the record, many of the underlying images in that piece are drawn straight from yours truly's childhood.

Date: 2015-01-26 12:53 am (UTC)
helgatwb: Drawing of Helga, holding her sword, looking upset. (Default)
From: [personal profile] helgatwb
Oh, wow. I like this. Thank you so much.

She is my pronoun, yes.

Oh, and it's a "b" on the end of my name.
Edited Date: 2015-01-26 12:55 am (UTC)

Date: 2015-01-26 04:23 am (UTC)
helgatwb: Drawing of Helga, holding her sword, looking upset. (Default)
From: [personal profile] helgatwb
It's okay, I figured it was something like that.

Wow!

Date: 2015-01-26 02:10 am (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
From: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This is gorgeous.

It made me think -- for me, the iconic smell of spring is the musty odor of baby birds.

Re: Wow!

Date: 2015-01-26 04:26 am (UTC)
helgatwb: Drawing of Helga, holding her sword, looking upset. (Default)
From: [personal profile] helgatwb
Well, being from the deep south, the primary smell for me is water, and green growing things. Of course, being in a former swamp, every season's primary smell is water. lol

Date: 2015-01-26 05:36 am (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
Love the imagery. Reminds me of an old favourite by Phyllis McGinley... it's mostly about summer, but my very favourite verse is about the other seasons:

Winter is mittens, winter is gaiters
Steaming on various radiators.
Autumn is leaves that bog the broom.
Spring is mud in the living room
Or skates in places one scarcely planned.
But what is summer, her seal in hand?
Sand.

And here in the Pacific North Wet, Spring is a trickster, a sneaky kit that pokes its nose out in February (and has come early this year - today's high in Seattle was sixty-three!), then goes and hides until mid-April... and cowers again in fear the first three weeks of June until ceding the field to Summer just at the Solstice...

And the sharp smell of snowpack in the passes lingers until mid-July; at a mile above sea level the frosty stuff is still piled fifteen feet high in June... I wonder what it is that gives snow that distinctive smell... they figured out what it is about rain, but I haven't seen that same thing about snow.

Date: 2015-01-28 02:04 am (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
Oooh! I'll be after havin' that, don'tcha know....

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