Every year it's the same: the air softens, the trees sway with more suppleness in the wind, the pinks at break and close of day lose their shrill, cold edge, and I feel the same old dread arise. I can only call it vernophobia. I know what's coming. Green will rish up through the thawed loam, through the leafmould, and surge through the limbs of trees, preparing to erupt. Then the wee fuzzy things, downy infant life, will crowd out the stiff, withered, gone-to-ground or toppling-over debris. Then look out for the throngs of humans -- in shirtsleeves, shorts, convertibles; on rollerblades, bicycles, skateboards; wearing shades, billed caps, jogging shoes; and worse: in their new bathing suits. In their oiled skin. With their suntans. Playing volleyball. Frisbee. Tennis. The world becomes a beer ad, a Satyricon of inebriation and copulation. There is no place in such a world for an old woman muttering
I take pictures of weeds. Dead weeds.
Step aside then, old gal. There's a new crop coming. The ravenous children are wailing in the wings. Make way, make room, move on.
Farewell, then, skinny Bishop and your fabulous mold-dappled sleeves.
Farewell, then, smashmouthed prophet and your windblown Jeremiads.
Farewell, prim old dowager and your fabulous hat.
In the muck of the swamp, life stirs in its green, fleshy cradles. Skunk. Cabbage. Even the words seem heavy, pregnant.
The winter light fades, greensick, and I swoon, a paraphrase of John Berryman's autumnophilic Dream Song on my cracked lips-- I could live in a world of Lent.