Sunday, February 7, 2016
“Winter will pass, the days will lengthen, the ice will melt in the pasture pond. The song sparrow will return and sing, the frogs will awake, the warm wind will blow again. All these sights and sounds and smells will be yours to enjoy, Wilbur—this lovely world, these precious days…”
E.B. White, Charlotte's Web
For me, books manage to belong to seasons. I wrote a post a few months ago about books for the fall- and there are many books that belong to autumn- often magical, spooky, and unreal- the way that October feels itself.
But the books that I start to crave in February are books about spring. Stories about the heart-aching magic of leaves unfurling, of ducklings hatching, and of mountain rivers flowing. Springtime seems unimaginable in January- in the dark heart of early evenings, freezing blizzards, and bare trees. But in February, water starts dripping off the rooftops. Birds start singing. Hens start laying.
And even though I can still see my breath in the morning, even though we still have snow storms that leave us with another 8 inches to shovel off the driveway, I find myself ordering seeds online, and thinking about E. B. White.
Because E. B. White is the essence of springtime- even his stories about summer and winter have within them, little spring-time seeds, waiting patiently to unfurl when the warmth comes.
A few days ago, the boys bounced in and woke me up in the morning, and I thought- "How lovely that they let me sleep in! The sun is shining and the sky is blue, and I feel rested for the first time in weeks."
But it was only 7:15! Oh, glorious February! In the fall, I love when the evenings are later, and in the spring- I rejoice again when they're earlier. Seven am is the perfect time for the sun to rise in the morning.
I went out to let the hens out of the coop, and found four cold little eggs waiting for me to take them inside and eat them for breakfast. I added them to my mostly-full egg basket and paused to take a picture of them- and as I did, the birds in the tree above me suddenly burst into a violent and excited song. I teared up, as I realized with surprise that Spring was coming.
A few weeks off, perhaps. Even months.
Winter will pass. The days will lengthen. All this lovely world, these precious days.
I've written about E.B. White many times, and I think that if I were to make a list of the greatest American authors, E.B. White and John Steinbeck would be at the top of the list, and Mark Twain would be lucky to even get an honorable mention.
White once wrote, “All that I hope to say in books, all that I ever hope to say, is that I love the world.”
His love of the world is contagious, and when the world looks its brownest, when the snow is no longer fresh and clean, but ugly and tiresome- that is when I most crave the reminders that the world around me is full of regular, average, every-day magic. Magic so breathtaking and unbelievable, that every new green shoot, and warm brown egg seems like a miracle- even if it has happened before -billions of times for billions of years.
So today, I will follow dear Elwyn's advice, and Always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder.
I suspect I will find it here, in my own home and henhouse.