We emerge from winter as from a deep sleep,
our senses returning as the snow folds back
into the dense cover beneath the evergreens.
Like newborns, before vision comes sound
the sudden chuckle of swift water rushing
as though creeks have sprung simultaneously
on all the housetops and streets down the town,
fields and creeks awash in rain and melting snow.
A songbird hidden in the bare branches of the birch
throws its plainchant into the cold morning light
to clatter like pebbles against the window pane.
The ripple of returning geese against the dusk,
their klaxon calls shuddering in the still air,
slide to rest beside the ice of emerging lakes
like the bow of a boat coming safe into harbor.
Vision, long starved of movement and color, clears
red-winged blackbirds bloom in the marshes
resting calmly on impossibly thin reeds,
silver cranes skim overhead, long legs trailing
like prayer flags fluttering outside a temple gate.
Hesitant yellow and burgundy buds swell
testing their strength against the late spring snows,
painting branch tips with tentative brushstrokes.
In the old barn the scents of hay and animals mix.
Ewes bellow and give birth to spindle-legged lambs
while sleek cats seek out shafts of sunlight in which to doze
near the wool spinner and the weavers clattering loom.
Then last of all, trailing in like a latecomer to church,
the musky-sweet fragrance of fertile, green earth,
promising full respite from a world of cold and dark,
fills the cauldron of the barren air and moves us to full waking.