Arranging the Pieces… Spring has returned

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By Tabitha Bozeman

During the last few months, it has often been hard for many of us to remember that the dreary days won’t last forever. It is easy to bemoan the winter when it gets dark so early and the temperature is often unpredictable. Even I have been a little antsy this season and have had little patience for the Alabama winter.

There is plenty of time for introspection and intentional togetherness during the dark and colder months. I think this past winter season was collectively difficult because we still remember very clearly when wintering alone in our little groups turned into summering in our little groups, then extended into the fall and another winter. Maybe we have all been extra ready for this spring because it feels like we can finally take a deep breath of relief and move on. Our sense of normalcy has returned.

The other day, I headed home from work on autopilot, making it all the way from campus to halfway up the mountain before I thought, “Look at all this daylight. I don’t want to go home yet!” I decided to drive past our neighborhood and find a bench by the water at Noccalula Falls. I’d spent most of Monday complaining about the time change and pollen, but I now remembered that the longer and warmer days mean writing and painting outside, so why not start right then since I needed to finish up a few things?

The parking lot by the water was pretty full when I pulled in, and I sat on a bench and breathed in the fresh air, listened to all the sounds and watched as others also enjoyed the beautiful space. It was the perfect spot. I listened to the sounds I love and they all remind me of the wonderful times I’ve spent here through the years. As I sat and listened, I thought about how unimaginably long Black Creek has been here and how many times I have seen the falls dry up to mere drops during times of drought, only to come rushing back to life after a rain. The reassuring and comforting rhythm of the cycle is a reminder to be patient as the falls always return.

This past week, rain replenished the falls and washed away some of the first wave of pollen. I was amazed, as I am every single year, by the suddenness of so many trees and flowers blooming overnight. Like a favorite song you haven’t heard in ages, but remember immediately when you hear it again, Spring has always seemed a wonderful mix of the beautifully unexpected and reassuringly familiar. The rhythms of the seasons are such a comfort. Just when it seems our Alabama winter will drag its dreary and gray-brown self on forever, the greens and purples and yellows and pinks appear. As Rilke says, “[I]t is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.”

I sat on the bench by the water until the sun had nearly set and the sky’s colorful fire was reflected in the water. I took one more look and listen. The shadows on the clouds and dark ripples in the water suddenly sharpened, brought into stark contrast by the last rays of the sun before it disappeared behind the trees. As I watched the sky grow darker, the glow from the chapel lights became visible and the water began to light up with reflections from the streetlights. Crickets added their song to the wonderful cacophony and little bats started swooping around overhead. A sudden shiver reminded me it was time to head home. I made my way back, content with the reminders all around me that spring has returned.

Tabitha Bozeman teaches English at Gadsden State Community College, where she is the editor-in-chief of the Cardinal Arts Journal. The opinions expressed are her own. She may be reached at tabithabozeman@gmail.com.

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