Sunday, April 19, 2009

Spring

This story is written l'zecher nishmos all who have passed away recently, for there have been way too many. Specifically, if I am not completely out of place to say so, David Rottenstreich, Aliza Shull - a close friend of Serach, Ezzie, and Moshe, and also for my aunt's mother - whose funeral we are going to today. May all their family and friends be comforted. Baruch dayan emes.

(Feel free to ignore this post if you would rather. I am not talking to anyone in it. I am just sharing the way my mind wanders.)


***

It’s been a hard winter. The cold lasted for longer than usual. Only just this week the weather started getting warmer. Not quite warm yet, but warmer. I’m supposed to be asleep but I can’t seem to settle into that relaxed, unthinking state. Too much is happening around me.

For a young bird, the beginning of spring is a puzzling time. Everything seems so dead from the winter – like the icy wind has killed every piece of greenery (except for those resilient pine trees, of course, though they, too, seem dead in a way). The animals leave, like us birds, or burrow into a warmer place to wait for the sun to bring heat once again. The world feels empty.

Our return when the winter takes this long to melt away makes me feel concerned for the world. Will the earth sprout again? Will the trees bear leaves? Will the flowers bud and blossom? Will the stream burble joyously over smooth stones and gush with its own tinkling music? Or have we returned to a world stuck forever in winter, never to bloom again?

I perch on a low branch and shiver with the cold, mourning over the heat that determinedly keeps away. While I tremble in despair, a strange series of sounds pricks my ears. I perk up and look around for the source of the rich, musical voice. It fluctuates between deep trumpeting—

Chaw! Chaw! Chaw!

To a more twittery—

Wurgle wurgle wurgle…

And then—

Tttttttt….

With finally, a whistle—

Shwee! Shwee!

“How marvelous!” I exclaim, hopping to the edge of my branch and craning my neck to see in all directions.

There, in a nearby tree, sits a beautiful bird of a misty green color. He is clearly trying to get attention. Sometimes his chest booms out that great “Chaw!” call. Other times a velvety calm overtakes him and he sweetly twitters away. When this goes on for a short while, he seems to lose patience and tweets in a frenzy, rather like a frustrated honking goose.

“Can’t anybody get some sleep around here?” grumbles my father from a branch above my own. I fly up to him.

“But I think it’s wonderful!” I chirp. “I can’t believe all that noise is coming from just one bird!”

“It’s because he’s mating,” my father yawns, ruffling his feathers and trying to drop back asleep. “Go to sleep.”

“Oh, but I can’t!”

I fly to a branch even higher still and watch the green bird. I wonder who he expects to answer his mating call. Is not every other bird asleep?

Strangely, the sounds that so irritate my father begin slowly to help me relax. If the green bird is searching for a mate, he must see a spring that I am still not aware of. The thought comforts me, for it means that this unnaturally long winter does have an end, after all. I try to see spring, too.

As I fall asleep, I dream of a tiny white bud at the end of everyone's unnaturally bare branches. One day, they will grow into beautiful flowers.

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