How Do You Know?



How do you know, deep underground,
Hid in your bed from sight and sound,
Without a turn in temperature,
With weather life can scarce endure,
That light has won a fraction’s strength,
And day put on some moments’ length,
Whereof in merest rote will come,
Weeks hence, mild airs that do not numb;
O crocus root, how do you know,
How do you know?
~Thomas Hardy from “The Year’s Awakening”


Only a handful of days with temperatures over 50 degrees F and the ground begins to crack with sprouting bulbs.  They are emerging early, sadly misled that winter is done.  In any case, it is glorious to see them. I won’t be surprised to hear the peepers starting their night chorus before long.

The year awakens despite the darkness when I leave for work in the morning and the darkness when I return.  We are turning a corner, staggering and bleary-eyed, emerging from the underground, preparing to face the light.



Shedding the Earth Crumbs


How Love burns through the Putting in the Seed
On through the watching for that early birth
When, just as the soil tarnishes with weed,
The sturdy seedling with arched body comes
Shouldering its way and shedding the earth crumbs.
~Robert Frost from “Putting in the Seed”


Tint and Swell

photo by Josh Scholten
photo by Josh Scholten
photo by Josh Scholten
photo by Josh Scholten

The February sunshine steeps your boughs and tints the buds and swells the leaves within.
–  William C. Bryant

The sun is everywhere today, thawing the frost layer on the metal roof of the barn to the point of seeping through the cracks, dripping and splattering inside like an indoor spring shower during our chores.  The sun rays are trying to burst through our layers to activate Vitamin D thirsty skin, and there is actual warmth on our cheeks as we look up, squinting at the unaccustomed brightness.

At last, oh at last — after months of gray misty drizzle.  It may be only a tease and not the real thing but even the soil is feeling seduced.  The snowdrop sprouts have thrust through the frozen ground and crocus shoots are peeking out hopefully on our side of the crust rather than staying tentative and hidden down under.

Today’s glimpse of spring was worth waiting for, even if winter breaks loose again for a few weeks and plunges us back into doldrums and gloom.  If only a peek, it is still promise of a coming renewal and rebirth.

We won’t always dwell in darkness.  Let us be luminous.

photo by Josh Scholten
photo by Josh Scholten

A Single Green Sprout

photo by Josh Scholten
photo by Josh Scholten

Now wind torments the field,
turning the white surface back
on itself, back and back on itself,
like an animal licking a wound.

A single green sprouting thing
would restore me . . .

Then think of the tall delphinium,
swaying, or the bee when it comes
to the tongue of the burgundy lily.
~Jane Kenyon from “February: Thinking of Flowers”

photo by Josh Scholten
photo by Josh Scholten