Signs of Life

photoWe’re a hardy lot here in New England. Last week we saw blizzard, “historic” snowfall, then another foot (meh, what’s 12 inches after 3 feet?), mixed with rain, freezing rain, and sleet. They’re talking about more to come tomorrow. Lovely. We hunker down. We make do.

Like The Inside Chance, the first poem in Marge Piercy’s collection The Moon is Always Female, we know spring is coming.

Just one week ago a blizzard
roared for two days.
Ice weeps in the road.
Yet spring hides
in the snow.

Here in the land of many seasons, we know in our bones when spring is near, in spite of all evidence to the contrary.

… What seems
dead pares its hunger
sharp and stirs groaning.

Where some may see only white-out conditions, we see signs of life. What seems dead is waking.  We know the snow comes down heavier this time of year not because we’re in the thick of winter, but because the air is starting to warm and the land is more acutely full of life and the hungering for spring.

And then there are those of us who know not only how to wait it out, but how to “grasp desire / by the nape”:

February snow storms seem to last longer and pile up more snow than any other kind. We watch from behind shadowed glass, drifts half-way up French doors. Eventually, lo and behold, the snow stops. The wind dies down, and there it is, all shiny and unapologetic, the extrovert sun fashionably late for the party.

… and although they have
pronounced us dead, we
rise again invisibly,
we rise and the sun sings
in us sweet and smoky…

Tomorrow is Groundhog Day, and while the world will wait for Punxutawney Phil to tell them when spring will come again, we smile knowingly. We have seen the signs of life. It is here, already, beneath the snow.


3 thoughts on “Signs of Life

  1. robertrife says:

    You’re tough buggers out there, aren’tcha? Meanwhile, we here in Yakima have seen perhaps a couple millimeters of snow all winter. More fog than anything. Either way, it’s all good poetry writing weather!

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