Spring has stumbled onto the farm like a loud drunk into a hospital waiting room. It doesn’t care that we’re pensive, that we’re taut against our own hopes, almost afraid to move for fear of upsetting the delicate and invisible unknown. That we’ve huddled together in our small groups, quietly giving and seeking comfort. Spring doesn’t give a damn.
The cherry trees along the lane have popcorned to a brilliant white almost overnight. The hawthorns are waking – bare, gangly teenager limbs last week, suddenly pumped out to a burly green. And the grass, oh, acres and acres of grass, indescribably verdant in the early evening light, and long, shaggy, like your boy’s forgotten haircut from two months ago. The air is a cacophonous tumble of barn swallows at dusk, home two days late by last year’s calendar, but making up for it in general rowdiness as they settle into their old haunts. At night, the frogs are deafening. And baby goats. Can I say that again? BAAAAABY GOATS!
It’s hard to reconcile this blithe – there is no better word than “exuberance” – of nature with the quiet handhold we have taken against the pandemic. We gather over dinner in the Commons, Logan and Lacey have cooked a roast. I’ve brought spaghetti squash and salad from across the way, Lydia’s made cookies and Brendon has baked cornbread from corn grown and milled by his brother Shay. We check in with each other, what needs to be done, what can be done. We toast our luck in low voices, taking care to not touch glasses, taking care not to draw fate’s eye to our tenuous good fortune.
We know how many people are cooped up in two-bedroom apartments with jittery kids, deep in a city with no place to let off energy. Maybe with no job to go back to. Glued to the daily news feed hoping for some sign that things are getting better, will get better before the cards are all maxxed out and more bills are due. Out here on the farm, we have so little to complain about.
But still, spring doesn’t give a damn. It’s here, and it wants to party. It wants to sing loud and off-key, and dance on the table with a pretty girl and let the hillsides explode with daffodils and clover. And you can’t shush it; there’s nothing you can say to talk it back down, to say Look at all the suffering and worry! Show some respect, some discretion! The thing is, you know that at some point you just have to give in and roll with it. You have to sit back and smile. You have to let go of your anxiety, your mourning, just for a little and marvel at this crazy, rambunctious drunk that’s spilled into your life. And maybe, just maybe, let yourself hum along a bit.