my hope for spring’s eternal

WindInTheWillowsI keep putting away my warm clothes with undue optimism, hoping we’ve seen the last of the cold, damp weather.

We have passed the vernal equinox — why am I still wearing a wool coat and scarf?

(Well, today was lovely, in fact, but yesterday was wintery, and I was having these thoughts yesterday.)

So Benjamin and I were tired of spending this nominal spring indoors. We put on our warm clothes and headed into the woods. It was windy and chilly, and I was feeling foolish, but by the time we got to the bend in the creek where Benjamin likes to look for interesting-looking rocks, the clouds had parted for a while, and we were able to sit in the sun by the "chatter and bubble," and I took out my Kindle and read to Benjamin from the The Wind in the Willows, which opens in spring, with Mole suddenly unable to remain indoors. He abandons his spring cleaning and heads up and out into an unfamiliar world:

[I]n the joy of living and the delight of spring without its cleaning, he pursued his way across the meadow till he reached the hedge on the further side.…

It all seemed too good to be true. Hither and thither through the meadows he rambled busily, along the hedgerows, across the copses, finding everywhere birds building, flowers budding, leaves thrusting — everything happy, and progressive, and occupied. And instead of having an uneasy conscience pricking him and whispering ‘whitewash!’ he somehow could only feel how jolly it was to be the only idle dog among all these busy citizens. After all, the best part of a holiday is perhaps not so much to be resting yourself, as to see all the other fellows busy working.

He thought his happiness was complete when, as he meandered aimlessly along, suddenly he stood by the edge of a full-fed river. Never in his life had he seen a river before — this sleek, sinuous, full-bodied animal, chasing and chuckling, gripping things with a gurgle and leaving them with a laugh, to fling itself on fresh playmates that shook themselves free, and were caught and held again. All was a-shake and a-shiver — glints and gleams and sparkles, rustle and swirl, chatter and bubble. The Mole was bewitched, entranced, fascinated. By the side of the river he trotted as one trots, when very small, by the side of a man who holds one spell-bound by exciting stories; and when tired at last, he sat on the bank, while the river still chattered on to him, a babbling procession of the best stories in the world, sent from the heart of the earth to be told at last to the insatiable sea.

Update via Tweet

From Friday: Benjamin explores a creekside beach while I read him Wind in the Willows.



One Response to my hope for spring’s eternal

  1. Scott Lahti says:

    Speaking of spring cleaning, BBC Radio 4 yesterday ran this delightful, echt-English documentary (“A Spring Clean Symphony”; playback through April 12) chockablock with old-time commercials, Pennies from Heaven-ly music clips, stirring string passages – and vintage recollections from a darling granny. A film clip of “The Hoover Song”, c. 1935 and played within, is here.

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