Monday, March 23, 2015

The Changing of the Seasons

Remains of an inland ocean
I seem to be having motivational issues when it comes to posting here regularly. There is no excuse for this unplanned absence. Even though the rest of the academic world was on spring break last week, most of us administrators were at our desks and I still could not bestir myself to assemble words for this space.

The changing of the seasons is giving me the opposite of spring rejuvenation, a seasonal lethargy created by pollen and daffodils.

Saturday I popped in at The Farm for a few hours. The farm where I grew up is three hours north of Small Town so popping in isn't something I do every day, and sometimes whole seasons pass when I don't make the trip.

As we pulled into the driveway I remembered again how much difference latitude makes in the arrival of warm weather. Small Town is in full spring mode but winter is barely over at The Farm. We have daffodils on every curb and ornamental pears bursting into bloom. They are still slogging through the mud from what they hope is the last snow of winter, so trees are bare and pastures are dead grey.

Was anything even happening?

But it was a beautiful day so the Geeky Farmer and my Much Older Sister (who also had popped in for a quick visit ) and I decided to take a ride around the section. For you city slickers who didn't pass Kansas History in seventh grade, a section is one square mile, 640 acres normally bounded by gravel roads.

You wouldn't think there would be that much to see in a four-mile drive in the country, but we saw an enormous slab of limestone packed edge to edge with fossils. We saw amazing yard art made out of bowling balls and bowling pins. We saw a creek draw that had been filled with 30 unused toilets to keep the banks from eroding into the road. We discussed whether the trees lining the creek were going to come back from last fall's hail storm and remarked how the forest behind the house has shrunk since we were kids. We saw the bluest of blue skies.

It may not be spring, but plenty is happening.Those fossils were formed by thousands of years of sedimentation before that limestone slab was unearthed and pushed to the side of the road. That bowling ball yard art came to life in the imagination of our neighbor, who had been in fourth grade with us and seemed the most unlikely of artists. Those toilets were handy fill material for a plumber whose commute between his house and his shop is exactly bisected by the crumbling creek banks. And that forest behind the house? Had been transformed in our memories of childhood into the Midwest equivalent of the Redwood Forest, when really it's a few dozen oaks and between the back yard and the next field.

That blue sky was the promise of day lilies and spring calves and car windows rolled down full open to possibility and warm breezes.

Change is all around us. The forces of nature and the forces of the mind are awakening, and it's spring.

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