March went out like a lion with one last blast of snow, but now it’s April, and I’m seeing the signs. Just this morning, a flock of about 20 Canada Geese settled in my yard. They startled when the mail truck arrived and took off in the direction of the pond. The maple trees in my back yard have sprouted red blooms, and last night, when I stepped out on the porch, I’m pretty sure I heard Wood Frogs. I’ve moved my runs from the treadmill to outside, and it seems like everything path I turn down I see something new. It’s started me thinking about the way we notice things, and how this relates to writing, and how truly astonishing the world really is.
In Walden Pond, Thoreau writes:
“One attraction in coming to the woods to live was that I should have leisure and opportunity to see the Spring come in. The ice in the pond at length begins to be honeycombed, and I can set my heel in it as I walk. Fogs and rains and warmer suns are gradually melting the snow; the days have grown sensibly longer; and I see how I shall get through the winter without adding to my woodpile, for large fires are no longer necessary. I am on the alert for the first signs of spring, to hear the chance note of some arriving bird, or the striped squirrel’s chirp, for his stores must be now nearly exhausted, or see the woodchuck venture out of his winter quarters.”
He goes on to measure the water, and the dimensions of the pond, and to talk at length about the booming sound the ice makes each night as it breaks up. Everything is studied. Everything is noticed. Everything is pointed out. I’ll never go off to live in the woods by myself, and really, I wouldn’t want to, but this spring, as I write, I hope to capture some of that wonder. And I hope that for you, too.