08 April 2006

April showers, etc.

"March comes in like a lion, and out like a lamb."

"April showers bring May flowers."

Both of those sayings seem to be anonymous and English, but fit our Northeast weather pattern pretty much exactly. It's always a surprise to me how blustery March is, and how cold and rainy April is -- once winter is over, it feels wrong to have anything other than warm sunny days, and yet, every year, there's the wind, there's the rain.

Central Park was nearly empty today because of the pouring rain; it's worth getting soggy feet to have the place nearly to myself. The cherry and pear trees are in bloom; crocuses and daffodils are popping up here and there. There are more daffodils than ever. The Dutch gave New York City millions of daffodils after 9/11, and have pledged to give us 500,000 new bulbs a year, as long as we have the volunteers to plant them. They're so nice, those Dutch. I wonder what we would give them if Amsterdam were attacked.

Another of those English-sounding truisms is that the robin is the first sign of Spring. There is an anonymous English poem about Little Robin Redbreast which sometimes gets confused with the American harbinger of Spring, but the English and American robins aren't the same thing, and that poem, if it's about anything other than the way the words sound together, is about the natural animosity between cats and birds.

There were dozens of robins hopping on the grass in the park today. The rain will have brought some juicy worms up from the earth, and those robins will be all over them. It's Spring alright.

Only here's the thing: the robins never leave. They are in the park all year 'round. Maybe not in the same numbers, but even in the middle of January you can find them without looking very hard. Seeing one no longer means it's Spring.

Between the rapacious hurricane seasons of the last two years and the melting polar caps in the Arctic global warming is in the news a lot these days. Maybe we've finally woken up to it, a little more than a little late. Maybe there's just no good celebrity gossip to fill up the news broadcasts right now.

Maybe the robin no longer has to fly south for the winter because it's warm enough here. The ducks certainly stay put all year (though it's debatable whether they ever migrated; I think JD Salinger was taking some poetic license with them).


Blogger tammara said...

I love daffodils. Every fall I mean to plant some bulbs, and every fall I am too lazy to get out there and do it! Then April comes, and I berate myself (again) for not having done it, because I have daffodil envy of several neighbors.

1:31 PM  

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