Thursday, March 18, 2010


I've been thinking about my family's rule that you shouldn't ever mow the grass before Easter, because then where will you hide the eggs? Not mowing before Easter can be a problem in Arkansas, where the rule originated, but not in Ohio.

This time last year, Walker went to his first big scholastic (kid) chess tournament. A year later, last weekend, he returned and took first place.

Hearing the song "Lost in Love" still makes me smell Cafe Vienna and see the blue material of the skirt I was wearing one spring morning, walking across pecan hulls at Hendrix.

It's as if seeing a crocus now gets overlaid with memories of previous springs, previous crocus. Seeing becomes an encounter with the past, like in this poem, Encounter by Czeslaw Milosz:

We were riding through frozen fields in a wagon at dawn.
A red wing rose in the darkness.

And suddenly a hare ran across the road.
One of us pointed to it with his hand.

That was long ago. Today neither of them is alive,
Not the hare, nor the man who made the gesture.

O my love, where are they, where are they going
The flash of a hand, streak of movement, rustle of pebbles.
I ask not out of sorrow, but in wonder.

Observing anniversaries is a way of producing encounters, of stopping to see how far you've come. Going back through and deleting old emails is another way for me, since I don't do it very often. Sometimes I save the wall calendar where we write all the places we have to be during the year, and look at it a year or so later, before I throw it away--oh! I think. That musical! And I'll be humming songs from it the rest of the day.

Do the sights, smells, or sounds of spring ever result in an encounter for you?


FreshHell said...

Good question. I don't know. I think my memory is so bad these days that when I see tulips and crocuses coming up, I think, "Oh yeah! Forgot about them. Glad they're still here." Soon I'll know how many survived the voles. And then the leaves die back and other things fill in the gaps and I forget, again, where I planted things. On and on.

As for family matters, thank goodness I've got the blog. I can go back and find out where we were when.

Harriet said...

Not spring in particular, but generally more and more it happens. Experiences are constantly layered with past experiences. It is sometimes overwhelming.

Serena said...

I think my memory is faulty! LOL I like that you write the places you've been on your calendar. That's a neat idea.

Amanda said...

Okay there's no way we could go without doing something to the yard until Easter, unless we've been in drought that long (which does happen). Honestly, one of the reasons I missed Texas when we lived in Wisconsin was that we couldn't have Easter outside. Sometimes there was still snow on the ground at Easter, and it was certainly too cold to hide eggs. There was no long grass to make grass baskets. Eventually I found that craft rafia makes good grass baskets and we hid the eggs in the house, but it was never the same.

Spring here is strange for me. I can tell spring is coming by when the mourning doves are suddenly cooing in the mornings. There's a certain feel in the air and I know immediately spring is here. This year, it was about 2 weeks ago. Last year it was in late January. The actual date of spring makes no difference to me because by that time it's often pretty much summer here already. Spring is a very short season in San Antonio. So in some ways, I love hearing those mourning doves, but in others, it heralds the soon-coming summer and makes me sad.

lemming said...

Kind of painful to ponder what was going on a year ago last year - glad I didn't save that calendar.

I do have fond memories of being able to open windows in our first house, which had a wonderful cross draft, so that the entire house smelled sunshine-warm and good

Jodie said...

There's a very specific lip balm and shower gel from the Body Shop that reminds me of late springs and early summers from long ago and then those things remind me of later things...I can get quite lost, which is sometimes worrying, especially when you couple it with the increased rate of 'I didn't come back with what I went for' moments.

Alison said...

Our woods are full of daffodils. We actually moved into this house in June, so we had no idea they were there. Almost a year after moving in, after dealing with roof repairs, water damage, and myriad other house woes (not to mention many evenings of sitting on the porch drinking a beer and worrying we'd made some sort of grave error), we saw those daffodils for the first time. The previous owners of the house weren't much good at home repair, but the gardening skills were pretty amazing, and I will always be grateful for those daffodils.

Now every time they poke their heads up, that's what I think of.

Jeanne said...

Freshhell, an encounter can be a surprise, like your "Glad they're still here"!

Harriet, "layered" is a good word for it.

Serena, It's a household "where everybody has to be when" calendar!

Amanda, You make me realize that one of the things I do like about Easter in the north is that you can usually hide chocolate eggs and they don't melt! (On the other hand, you often have to hunt for them in a coat!)

Lemming, it was your emails from the last year (among all my other thousands of now-deleted emails) that made me think of some of this stuff.

Jodie, sort of "lost in time," it sounds like!

Alison, your woods sound lovely. I think I'm going to have to look up what is the difference between jonquils, daffodils, and buttercups!