Mad in Pursuit Notebook

spring rain

Four Seasons: Random Thoughts on Spring

Mar 31, 2016. Hard to find anything original to say about spring. Renewal. Rebirth. Resurrection. My mental model of spring is "when the trees flower" -- mid-March this year in my hometown St. Louis. But that doesn't occur till May in the Rochester region.

One afternoon last week a mist settled over Lake Ontario. Was the mist a better emblem of spring than flowering trees? The air blows warm across the cold water -- the breath of creation. The sun and the stars retreat beyond the blanket of clouds, so that the only fire comes from the boiler downstairs and from my own mind.

Mist doesn't "settle," really, does it? Maybe fog "settles" if the cloud layer falls from the sky. Mist rises. Like the shoots of crocus and hyacinth that poke up through the rotted leaves. "Resurrection" does seem like an apt theme for spring, no matter what your religion is. Those first green shoots are always miraculous and reassuring.

We made sourdough starter. It seemed like an investment in spring -- catch the passing yeasts and put them to work bring dry flour to life. Aren't there all sorts of Easter bread traditions?

The sun does appear, but it's a teaser. We rush outside to do a little yard cleanup and to search for signs of growth. It inspires hope. Spring is about anticipation. And maybe faith, too. If I have finished all my winter projects, performed all rituals as prescribed, summer will arrive sooner or later.

On Tuesday, spring was about rising waters. From late summer through the winter, the Lake Ontario shoreline retreats 5-6-7 feet. Now it's roaring back -- an annual slow-motion high tide. Where winter ice left my little rocky cove unscathed, the spring breakers send spray all the way into our yard. Between that and yesterday's torrential rain, the earth is all juicy for growth.

Yesterday we got sun and 60 degrees. Along with our pleasant outdoor work, I made a loaf of sourdough bread. Damn, I forgot our loaf pans were back at the condo. Although the taste of the bread was classic yummy sourdough-y, for whatever reason, our loaf fell flat. Analysis required. But spring is about hope, right? And we still have "mother" -- our precious starter.

Today we are back to rain. I walked down to our rocky cove. There, among the sodden remains of last year's weeds, were dozens of small yellow flowers. Colt's Feet, related to daisies -- a wild flower with history:

In former times a replica of the coltsfoot flower was to be found above the door of pharmacies in Paris, an emblem of the effectiveness of their medicine. Pliny recommends the dried leaves and roots of Coltsfoot to be burnt, and the smoke drawn into the mouth through a reed and swallowed, as a remedy for an obstinate cough, the patient sipping a little wine between each inhalation. To derive the full benefit from it, it had to be burnt on cypress charcoal.(Grieve, Maud) [Annie's Remedy]

I was flooded with excitement and, yes, anticipation of beautiful times ahead.

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Books by Susan Barrett Price:

THE SUDDEN SILENCE: A Tale of Suspense and Found Treasure (2015) Thailand: lovers of ancient treasure tangle with international black markets. Delia Rivera pulls Martin Moon back into the game and their quest turns deadly. In paperback and Kindle editions.

TRIBE OF THE BREAKAWAY BEADS: Book of Exits and Fresh Starts (2011) Time after time, Mary asks herself: Do I go or do I stay? She finds her power in her ancestors: Smart women turn discontent into action. An illustrated memoir in paperback and Kindle editions.

PASSION AND PERIL ON THE SILK ROAD: A Thriller in Pakistan and China (2008) The twin forces of revenge and redemption drive Nellie MacKenzie and Taylor Jackson on a crazed adventure into the heart of Central Asia. They grapple with issues of ethics, trust, rage, and bitter heartbreak -- as well as the intrigue of the international antiquities trade. In paperback and Kindle editions.

 

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