Taking Time for Spring

by Sidney Hauck, Recruitment Capacity Building Specialist/ AmeriCorps Member with Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa through the Individual Placement program

A popular icebreaker question as a kid was, “What’s your favorite season?” Everyone would shout about how much they loved summer. It’s the obvious choice — it’s sunny, the temps are up in Minnesota, and it’s a great time for outdoor recreation. But my favorite season has always been spring and having to stay inside during my favorite season has been tough. The birds are always singing, the crisp air at night smells faintly of campfire, and plants are sprouting up everywhere. The rainy days are mixed in with the sunny days and everyone is outside enjoying the fresh air. Even in this time, I watch all my neighbors go for walks at a safe distance from each other and the kids are outside with their family while playing in the street.

My cats are especially learning how much they love spring because I crack the window to let some fresh air in and they like to watch the bugs and birds flying by. It’s times like these of sitting still that I’m reminded of the fact that my days are filled with stimulation and noise. Whether that be working during the week and staring at my computer all day or when I’m relaxing at night and I turn on the TV to watch some Netflix or Hulu. My days are filled with the stimulation and noise of the world. I rarely take the time to be more like my cats, sitting and staring at the signs of spring only thinking about the birds and insects. So, in the midst of springtime and quarantine, I want to take the time to sit in the uncomfortable stillness. I will re-pot my plants and watch them enjoy the spring sun. I will take the time needed during this uncertain time and observe something certain, spring.

Such Singing in the Wild Branches

It was spring
and I finally heard him
among the first leaves––
then I saw him clutching the limb

in an island of shade
with his red-brown feathers
all trim and neat for the new year.
First, I stood still

and thought of nothing.
Then I began to listen.
Then I was filled with gladness––
and that’s when it happened,

when I seemed to float,
to be, myself, a wing or a tree––
and I began to understand
what the bird was saying,

and the sands in the glass
for a pure white moment
while gravity sprinkled upward

like rain, rising,
and in fact
it became difficult to tell just what it was that was singing––
it was the thrush for sure, but it seemed

not a single thrush, but himself, and all his brothers,
and also the trees around them,
as well as the gliding, long-tailed clouds
in the perfect blue sky–––all of them

were singing.
And, of course, so it seemed,
so was I.
Such soft and solemn and perfect music doesn’t last

For more than a few moments.
It’s one of those magical places wise people
like to talk about.
One of the things they say about it, that is true,

is that, once you’ve been there,
you’re there forever.
Listen, everyone has a chance.
Is it spring, is it morning?

Are there trees near you,
and does your own soul need comforting?
Quick, then––open the door and fly on your heavy feet; the song
may already be drifting away.

-Mary Oliver