Spring arrives in New England every April bringing relief from winter’s weight. Even the hardiest skiers who long to head for the mountains or evergreen forests to shush along deep shaded paths brighten at the first sight of the crocus blossom. Even after the mildest winter, when the kaleidoscope turns and the crocus curls into view, there is a collective sense of relief. The crocus heralds in the daffodils and narcissus that will give way to tulips just before the silent explosion of green.
Some lesser part of me resents my surprise. I know the crocus will come up like clockwork. That same part of me resents the obvious symbolism: life from death, joy from sorrow, renewal from stagnation. We squeeze more out of the crocus than an early nectar thief can suck. And think of the insult to the hydrangea. So it hasn’t blossomed yet. Is that any reason to denigrate it in cheap comparison to the crocus whose time has simply come?
Perhaps it’s just a mood. Perhaps it’s just entering a new season one year older. Perhaps it’s the humiliation of being human in the face of innocence. Will the crocus notice how different the atmosphere at first breath? The delicate crocus is a poignant reminder of what a brutal race we must seem to it. This spring I find myself wondering how to assure the crocus of hope. A nod to our mutual being? Yes, that, and something equally ecstatic. I hope I won’t sound too defensive when I remind the crocus that the poets are not all dead. I’ll have to word it carefully.