Friday, April 13, 2018

First Spring in Smiths Falls

And it's spring,
so we put on our boots and go squelching through the backyard, out the gate, into the woods
A big little boy on my right,
A small little boy on my left.

A blue jay startles and swoops up overhead.
A rabbit leaps over a tiny stream, and tries to hide its enormous softness
behind a few bare branches.
Robins squeak and flirt and hop.
"Hi!" Pascal calls, waving eagerly, "hi!"
And there is nothing in the world to match the wonder on his face.

Through the bare branches, I can see a run-down hotel.
A yard full of boats, still wearing their winter covers.
The grass is still brown, still lying down from the weight of recent snow.
The rumble of traffic echoes across the river.
We are solidly in the center of town
and, yes - here, in the smallish and ugly backside of things,
Spring is bursting beautiful to life.

So far we've seen a turtle,
Maybe twenty snails, and one school of fish.
Geese overhead, and mourning doves on the telephone wire;
Robins, jays, grackles, crows.
Bunnies playing a fierce game of tag.
Dogs, on leashes.
And a raccoon, twenty-five feet in the air, clinging to a bare tree.

We spend the morning throwing rocks into the river
(one of those activities that grows more absorbing the longer you do it)
And at noon we scramble half-wild up the bank
Noses dripping and hair a-frizz, ravenous for lunch;
Startling pedestrians, who haven't yet succumbed
To the sweet messy earthy song
Of spring.

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