Midwest Today, April/May
C O U N T R Y
C H R O N I C L E
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
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
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
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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