Sunday, February 26, 2012

Homeward Bound

This coming weekend I will be flying across the Atlantic to visit my family for a couple of weeks. This is the first time in many years that I will heading home at this time of year, and I am looking forward to it.
I always love spring in the Washington area. First, the magnolias start to bloom and then the cherry blossoms burst forth in their short-lived glory, after which there’s the wisteria and the azaleas to look forward to in April and May before the temperature starts to creep up into the unbearable range and the mosquitoes start biting. But I do miss the spring in Britain – the intense green of the rain-fed grass, the clusters of hardy snowdrops and delicate primroses, carpets of crocuses and of course the bright cheeriness of the daffodils – my favorite flower.
After suffering a spell of arctic winter weather in February, south-east England – where I’m bound – is forecast to experience more balmy temperatures at the beginning of March. So I’m looking forward to smelling the damp earth (because it’s bound to rain at least some of the time) and seeing Wordsworth’s golden trumpets “fluttering and dancing in the breeze.” By the time lambing season arrives and the woods are full of bluebells, I’ll be gone but I’ll have still had a brief whiff of England as “blossom by blossom the spring begins.”
From Atalanta in Calydon (1865) by Algernon Charles Swinburne
For winter's rains and ruins are over,
And all the season of snows and sins;
The days dividing lover and lover,
The light that loses, the night that wins;

And time remembered is grief forgotten,
And frosts are slain and flowers begotten,
And in green underwood and cover
Blossom by blossom the spring begins.

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