Niagara Gazette


April 6, 2014

SINGER: Welcoming an earned spring


Niagara Gazette — This year’s delicate budding came roughly when it was supposed to, with spring’s advent the twin effort it should be up north: an exhausted winter in bitter retreat, versus Young Pup spring punching back with saccharine sweetness, their bouts won or lost depending on the March, then April day.

Winter’s known for its white, gray, and blue (that is, when skies cooperate, as they often did this year). And spring? After the initial dun color you see everywhere and snow remnants still around, it garbs itself in a growingly prevalent green — that being the season’s most significant, life-giving color.

For Europeans this is considered a first time, even a birth — as in the French term “printemps” or the Italian “primavera” (which isn’t just pasta!). It’s a season that brings keen hopes of renewal in flora and fauna, and in humans, too. Suddenly you see a renewed frenzy for the outdoors, and some still odd-looking shorts (I won’t even talk about shorts worn by certain January masochists, when temperatures frequently dropped to the single digits!).

On a more realistic note, wars invariably resumed in springtime, too, after each side’s contestants had sat in winter quarters during extended conflicts like the Thirty Years War.

Much later, Herr Hitler and generals (some reluctant, but going along) used the drier, firm-grounded weather of early May 1940 for an invasion of Western Europe, which the Fuhrer had called off more than 20 times during the cold winter of ‘39-‘40, when even the Channel froze at Boulogne. (That year, too, spring was earned.)

The lightning invasion by Nazi tanks and aircraft in a suddenly fine season made short work of the Dutch and Belgians, and more astonishingly, the French, leaving Britain to fight alone several months later.

In other words, gorgeous spring weather can do only so much to sate the appetites of power-hungry, territory-coveting humans. One novelist noted that beauty is not a human invention. He meant perhaps that what happens in a season like spring, including in earned ones like this year’s, is so awesomely pretty that no lesser species of faults and flaws galore can match it.

But let’s not end on a depressing note. Let’s think of spring as jibing with the better human traits of love and hopeful optimism, and a capacity for beneficial, new-blossoming changes in personal lives.

B.B. Singer has taught at several colleges in the area, including Niagara University.

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