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Midwest Today, April/May 1996

C O U N T R Y   C H R O N I C L E

Girl holding boquet


A celebration of the season

By Mary Brooks

We are thankful for the beauty of this season, for the glorious message that all nature proclaims. The signposts of Springtime are everywhere: Roots, seeds and bulbs that lay dormant in Winter's bosom, burst forth to proclaim a new day.

The cottonwood and box elder and slippery elm have leafed out, the roadside plum -- spendthrift and overeager -- send forth their white blossoms before even getting leaves. We enjoy the bright parade of hyacinths, fragrant buds swelling on the lilac bush, the pink and white apple petals, the carpets of dogtooth violets, the brilliant yellow forsythia and the golden-throated daffodils in bloom along our garden lane. Trilliums grow in bright exuberance. Tulips sway to a woodland breeze as bluebells chime. Yellow and red primroses hug the flagstone wall. The flowering quince spread a glory of salmon pink. Jacob's ladder is palest of celestial blues.

Spring's emerald green banners are unfurled across the hillsides.

Geese arrow north, with their high-distant honking. The robins are also back, as well as bluebirds. We've heard a few meadowlarks and yesterday saw the flash of the redwing blackbird's brilliant sash. Purple finches are at work among the propeller-like seeds and peepers chorus. Thrushes sing a madrigal. On the mossy barn roof, pigeons coo in tones as soft as velvet. Soon the saucy wren will be chattering, telling us where she has been.

Out in our pasture along the creek bed, where the turf is soft and willows sway gently, a newborn colt staggers beside his mother. A proud hen escorts her yellow brood and in the haymow we have tiny tumbling kittens.

Lambs and kids are a sportive crew, and there is a leggy calf that totters when its mother licks it. We catch a glimpse of dappled fawns trembling on knobby legs on nearby hills at dusk.

In the morning, sunbeams dance from drops of dew that sparkle on the lawn. Spider webs cling like mystic emblems and are opal-hued. The sky is azure and hyaline.

Up in the west field the plow turns the rich brown furrows, and the warm air is sweetly redolent of the earth s dank smell.

We open our windows wide to let the fragrant breezes inside.

Some days glittering drops of silver rain come dashing by to refresh the earth anew. After a shower the rain-scrubbed air is almost intoxicatingly fresh.

We'll walk old logging trails when dogwoods bloom, and bend to watch the buzzing bees so busily at work on columbines. We 'll go to where purple phlox grows straight and tall, and listen to the quiet murmurings of our little brook.

Ducklings swim like balls of fluff just floating there. Baby rabbits venture out, their ears flattened, while squirrels scamper through the trees and scold noisily. The ornamental butterfly expands his wings to flutter by.

Across the wide meadow to the hill s farthest rim, a little boy romps with a treasured kite he has made as the wind tugs it higher and higher. A little girl hugs a bouquet of cherished flowers.

Gardeners scheme, stepping out in the welcome sun with hoe and rake. On their knees they will sow the seeds, then hover and hope, water and weed.

Here in Wisconsin, we can't plant as early as some people and we must wait until the maples are in bud, or even in leaf, for lettuce, radishes, onions and peas.

Spring nights can be chilly and we keep the fire burning in the great stone fireplace.

This is when we turn the house back to lighter materials and cooler colors.

Everything gets an airing. We love the smell of clothes hung out on the line.

Down at the little white-steepled church in our valley we celebrate the promise of eternal life with familiar old hymns of praise as rays of the morning sun stream through the stained-glass windows and bask us in an ethereal light.

After the service, we linger outside to commune with friends, before embarking on a picnic of fried chicken, fresh berries, potato salad and slaw.

Too few people pause to delight in the simple, important, enduring and wondrous things that come with the changing of the seasons.

And I worry about the younger generation never knowing the gentler aspects of nature as found in country life.

We would do well to remember, "This is the day the Lord has made. Be glad and rejoice in it."

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