Spring Song

April, comes she will,
When streams are ripe and swelled with rain.
May, she will stay,
Resting in my arms again.

— Paul Simon

May has changed its mind, however. After its cold start, warm sunny weather has finally returned.  The streams are indeed swelled with rain and running high. I love them at this time of year when the sun can reach the water and make it sparkle. By July they’ll shrink in their banks and amble along, nearly invisible in the shade of shrubs and weeds.

Ripe and swelled with rain

April’s spring song was cold and wet and dismal. May started the same way—the last reminder of a dwindling El Nino. After two weeks of below-normal temperatures, rain, drizzle, and wind our spring song was muted and it was hard to believe that spring was actually here.

Instead of breaking out the warm weather clothes last month I went day after dreary day in my winter outfit of turtleneck, fleece, jeans and wool socks. Every time I gave a Boston By Foot tour I wore my winter coat and made sure I had gloves in my bag because I would need them by mid-way through the route.

The mill race at Stearns Mill PondI tried to be thankful for the rain’s spring song, which nourished the plants, charged the water table and kept the ponds and streams high. It also meant the Landscape Committee at my church didn’t have to show up twice a day to water the grass seed that went down after our new terrace was completed. The lawn is greening up nicely.

Changeable May’s Spring Song

May has changed its mind, however. After its cold start, warm sunny weather has finally returned. The streams are indeed swelled with rain and running high. I love them at this time of year when the sun can reach the water and make it sparkle. By July they’ll shrink in their banks and amble along, nearly invisible in the shade of shrubs and weeds. The birds are drunk on sunlight and singing their little hearts out.

Only in places where landscapers have installed hot-house flowers, like the tiny yards of Beacon Hill, do you see bright displays.

Beacon Hill garden in the rain

But the flowers don’t know what to do. Daffodils, usually past their bloom by now, are still hanging on. The tulips shot up bravely but flopped as they looked for some sign of welcome.

Forsythia bushes pushed out a few random blossoms but then went straight to leaves. No sprays and balls of bright yellow decorated the yards this year. The flowering pears that line the streets of our neighborhood had almost no flowers at all. Only in places where landscapers have installed hot-house plants, like the tiny yards of Beacon Hill, do you see bright displays.

Hopeful for June’s Summer Song

I tried to be thankful for the rain, which nourished the plants, charged the water table and kept the ponds and streams high. It also meant the Landscape Committee at my church didn’t have to show up twice a day to water the grass seed that went down after our new terrace was completed. The lawn is greening up nicely.

The grist mill at Longfellow’s Wayside Inn

Now that the strong El Nino, appears to be dissipating we can be hopeful about June. Here in New England, summer gets crammed into three months—June, July and August. That’s when gardening, fairs and festivals, beach-going, picnicking, backyard barbecues, and other outdoor activities are scheduled. Not golfing, though. Golfing happens on the course behind us for at least nine months out of the year.

For now  I just hope that our spring song gets stronger, giving us more sun and warm air. I need to put those turtlenecks and fleeces away for at least a few months.

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