The Witness

“All day the blanket snapped and swelled on the line, roused by a hot spring wind….
From there it witnessed the first sparrow, early flies lifting their sticky feet, and a green haze on the south-sloping hills.
Clouds rose over the mountain….At dusk I took the blanket in, and we slept, restless, under its fragrant weight. “
–Jane Kenyon

It is spring and soon time to empty the beds of blankets and quilts for their day of renewal by clothesline hanging in the sun.  The airing of bedding is a May tradition from generations past, allowing the wind to buff all fresh again with scent of ambient apple and lilac blossoms.

This quilted veil covers our dreams, our fevers, our loving, our deep sleep, our wakeful tossing; now allowed flapping freedom for a day before returning to the weighty responsibility of becoming comfort and protection, tucked, folded, smoothed and ordered.  As we climb back into the realm of the dark, burrowing beneath its weight, breathing deeply from the fragrant breeze of freedom in the fabric, we see through closed eyes the snowy mountains in the distance, smell clouds of pink-white orchard bloom just up the hill,  feel the tousling wind in our hair.  All this from the safety of our bed.

Our dreams, each deep and rhythmic breath, sleep shrouded by the blanketing of spring.

For a Mixed Chorus

Photo by Josh Scholten

The frogs started their evening peeping about a week ago.  The calendar said they were right on time but their reemergence from the mud marshes was surprising given recent northeast winds, subfreezing temperatures and a landscape still stuck in the throes of winter.

But there is nothing so welcome as finding myself invited to a spontaneous nocturnal concert I had not anticipated.  I open the back screen door and down the steps to hear them exercising their chirpy melody, louder then softer then louder once more, then suddenly stopped altogether as if their air had been cut off.  There are several beats of silence until one lonesome frog is courageous enough to pick up the tune solo, and the rest, encouraged,  join in once again.

Winter is truly past when this chorus concert becomes a nightly fest.  We are moving on to longer days and noisy nights, to the rush of sprouts and buds and hatched eggs.

And to think it all starts with a peep.

Photo by Josh Scholten