The Rites of Spring


The rite of spring has begun.  Across the neighborhood, the songs heralding its arrival are sung to the rhythmic snap of clippers, and the buzz of lawnmowers.  Neighbors wave to each other with salutes of solidarity, acknowledging the mixed emotions that come with the budding of the dogwoods and the greening of the grass.  There is communal celebration of the new growth, but also shared sighs at the commitment it will demand of its stewards.

It has been a day spent saying goodbye to the browns and bronzes of winter, and making way for the new season.  At its end, the late afternoon sun turns the lawn to an emerald sea as we collapse into our chairs.  It is a sight to behold, and so are we – with dirt painting our nails, mud to our elbows, and the salt of the day’s work drying on our faces.

There is something immediately gratifying about the sight of a crisp trail blazed through the newly verdant grass, and the pure, green fragrance that lingers in its wake.  It gives one a sense that order is restored to the world, and refreshes us from our inner souls right down to the soles of our bare feet.  At the sight of the tender young flowers we have nestled in fresh, longleaf pine straw, and the renewed shapeliness of boxwoods and ligustrums tamed from the rowdiness of their spring awakening, we grin at each other like proud new parents.

At dusk, the yard goes still, as though pausing to acknowledge the moment with us.  From our seats on the porch, we raise glasses beaded with moisture against the warm night air.  Soon it will be summer, and we will fan ourselves, complain about the heat and scratch with irritation when the mosquitos remember where we live, arriving uninvited to crash the party.  Such is life in the Lowcountry.  But today has been a gift, and we are grateful for it.

Reluctant for it to end, we stroll one last time past flower beds gone dewy in the dying light of the day.  Tonight, while we sleep the peaceful slumber of our righteous labor, it will be comforting to know that life will be stirring outside in the warming soil.  Leaves will begin stretching to unfurl, and vivid colors will build within delicate buds.

As the door closes on the day, we can almost hear the grass growing, shooting blades skyward and offering assurance that in the coming days there will be no lack of opportunity to blaze new trails in a lush carpet of green.
// Susan Frampton

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