Sunday, March 08, 2009

View from the Second City (Spring)

Over the past few months, I have been experiencing Chicago through my eyes to gather subjects for this column. But sight is not the only sense available in the Second City. This morning, making my way to the bus stop, I heard a sound that was almost foreign to my winter addled ears. The sound seemed to come from no where in particular--just all around. It was the sounds of birds.

These were not the coos of pidgins, or the caws of seagulls that stay in the city over the cold months. Instead they were the tweets of the little brown birds I had all but forgotten about. It was nature calling out that Spring is coming. The world is tilting closer to the sun and the weather will soon turn.

I enjoy the cold and I like the snow, but it has been a long winter and I am excited for the change over. The problem with snow is, in the warm weather, it melts. At the farm, the ground soaks up the melting snow and turns spongy and muddy. There is very little exposed soil in the city to soak up the water. All the snow that gave people so much trouble a few weeks ago, is now melting and bothering the sewer system.

I am not one to harp on the seasons. We only have four of them (some years it feels like just two) and they all have good aspects. But I am not one who abides wetness well. Puddles and standing water get my feet wet and make me uncomfortable for the rest of the day. Spring is beautiful and full of love and rebirth, but it tends to make me feel itchy. On the farm I could usually avoid the puddles, but the city is all paved over making it impossible to avoid. It turns into one big puddle.

Back home the birds appear every year, when there is a thin layer of snow on the ground and the air is warm enough to go out with no coat. It is the same in the city, but they don't come in such numbers. The trees at the farm can be full of hundreds of birds--their combined calls deafeningly loud. Here they congregate in empty lots or the odd park in smaller groups. Spring is indeed coming back, birds are migrating home, the trees will soon bud.

Thousands of years ago, humans feared the coming of the darkness. The end of the Summer and beginning of the Fall felt cold and dark and scary. The unknown made people pray for the return of spring and the rebirth of the world. Now, we kind of forgot that feeling. Technology made the long nights less scary, but our DNA still has that fear ingrained by thousands of generations. We still feel relief when spring starts and the birds sing.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Here in texas we have 2 seasons: HOT and HUMID. However, the birds are always singing. It truly is delightful and can be very therapeutic.