I’d just like to say thanks to the red maples out there. And the silver maples, too, for that matter. And the snowdrops and the odd bold forsythias.
In the beginning of February things have been gray and brown for a long time. So long you almost can’t quite picture things being any other way. Then your eyes glance past the maple and there is a slight red sheen, at first almost imperceptible, then with a brightness you almost feel the need to blink. Upon closer examination, there they are – tiny little pink-red tendrils peeking out of the buds. Their tentativeness, their tenderness, is fairly startling in February. Everything else is dark brown, shut up tight in a fortress of protection against a harsh world. These tendrils are literally putting themselves out there, on display as heralds of change.
I’m not sure other people crave Spring as viscerally as I do, but the musical “Hadestown” would lead me to believe that some do. We can’t wait for Persephone’s half-year up on top and we all feel like her, too; exiled in a world that doesn’t feel natural.
Of course, even the traditional natural order feels askew. Often when we see things in bloom now we are hesitant to enjoy them – we wonder if they have been awakened too soon by climate change. The natural world isn’t the bedrock we thought we could trust. Instead, it’s in traumatic flux and it’s our fault – even worse, a fault we have participated in without knowing for many years. It’s a horrible mistake we make worse every day and yet we feel powerless to rectify.
“Hadestown” posits that we might eventually heal ourselves and heal our world by embracing vulnerability, trust, and art itself. We can work towards that ourselves and hope that it will spread. In the meantime, however, we look to the maples – they are putting out their small vulnerable tendrils, they are trusting that they will be put to use in the warm Spring air.