It’s spring in the countryside and huge cherry blossoms, pear blossoms, peach and apple blossoms are EXPLODING all over the valley. (Even the shabby crabapples pretend to be fruit tree royalty in the spring bloom parade.) It’s as if silent paintball vandals drove through over night and blasted the rolling hills with wonderful pinks, dusty roses and virgin paper white splats! sploshes! and splittoofs! Followed by an army of teenaged girls who applied gallons of bright nail polish to the dogwoods, leaving clever pink and magenta stripes on each delicate petal. Unimaginable embellishment! You can’t look away, which makes driving a challenge. Try to focus on the drab black road with one yellow stripe, and automatically deep breaths rise in your chest; and there you are, unconsciously relaxing in the grip of JOY, sponsored by the return of spring. I drink it in, gulping the soft, warm, nectar tinged air. It’s not intoxicating. I can’t abide even looking at a form of toxic when I am surrounded by that much life force. No, it’s bioxic. I’m making up another word for the purpose of lyrical description. Yes, today is deeply bioxic. Life on a grandiose sensual level that makes life abundanzo, you know, like Italians do to food.
I don’t have allergies, thank God. Instead I find the microscopic bioxia to be calmly stimulating, drawing up the deepest water from my inner well of being. Sexy raspberry sherbert mountain laurel blooms lean out from their surroundings like chic super models in the streets of Manhattan. It’s not fair! I can’t keep my eyes off these beauties. Lilacs don’t fight fair either. In multiple colors, especially the deep passion French purple variety, they entrap you through your nostrils with a stunning timeless perfumed secret. A big sister to hyacinth’s hypnotic scent. Yes, Doctor Blog, I know that pollen is being released and bees will flit around collecting it, coincidentally pollenating the universe. I know it all works together scientifically, but it is STAGGERING me today in the brilliant sunlight, like I imagine strolling the beach in Rio de Janeiro might also stun me into non-verbal seizures. Something pre-science, pre-language and primal surges in my blood. It’s not in a book; it’s in the warm southern air flow and invisible touch that will be gone in a few days, when the business of the orchards resumes. But on this glorious spring day, the business is not business at all; it’s transformation, shedding the old, dead winter skin and the smoky odors of cold weather endured inside. This, this is joy, the return of youth and passionate energies that lay dormant through the long cold tunnel we call winter. By God, somebody put on Beethoven’s 9th really loud and let’s dance. No? Too slow. Okay, how about Vivaldi’s Spring concerto from the Four Seasons? No?How about Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons? “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You.” Yeah, now we’re feeling IT. Maybe this is what snorting coke is like. I wouldn’t know.
It started a month ago, lower though, along the south side of barns and houses where daffodils were tickled awake by a loving Father Sun. Then the tulips followed. But their deal is different than the trees, these snailish bulbs retreat for another year. They don’t dance and sway in gentle breezes meters away from dirt and worms. They don’t become pregnant with pollen like my tree ladies do. They don’t conceive magical fruit that swells on their firm limbs late in summer or into fall. As lovely as the early flowers of spring are, they don’t compare to the slow salsa promenade of the arboreal fantasy on display today.
Joy, joy, joy. Bluebirds. A lamb. Ducklings in a line. Bees. Sun on bare skin. Frogs croaking. A kite aflutter. Dandelions. Cut grass. Warm rain. Joy, joy, joy. Buzz it, croak it, bleat it, quack it, tweet it, pop it tight as a kite string. Joy, shot like a shower of confetti from a silent cannon into the atmosphere. I photosynthesize something essential and urgent in my groggy marrow. It’s microscopia bioxia influxia. Roll over Beethoven and let the Grateful Dead play through.
So what is this? Along the black back road to work. Blinking flashers on a string of cars turning right at the stop sign. A funeral? Uh, not so fast joy. A slow moving line of shiny clean vehicles. Hmmm, I could roll right along with them. I did wash my car yesterday. They get to run the lights through town… but that would be so creepy fake. A last minute mourner. “Excuse me sir? Do you even know the deceased?”
“Well, I might. It’s a small town, you know. I thought I recognized the lead car. Can you give me a few clues? For instance, age, gender and occupation. I mean I could know the deceased or someone who did know him or is it her?”
No, I did not stay with the procession, but I did note the juxtaposition of throbbing life all around this slithering metal snake headed toward its hole in the graveyard. He/she could be me, will be me some day, and I don’t get to pick which day. I, however, will go in a quart sized vase, I believe. I’ve read that a 40 regular reduces nicely into a quart, actually a liter in Europe, of cremains. It’s a shame that my dental work will melt with me. Each of three crowns cost $1200. Surely someone else could use them to chew on the indignities of life. And then will I need a funeral procession? I’d like one even though I’ll be sitting urnestly on the front seat with the funeral director, probably listening to some George Jones broken heart song so he can maintain a lugubrious demeanor. I don’t suspect that my cremains will have any aura or juju to communicate with the driver. Though, I can imagine telepathically communicating to him through the Tupperware lid…”Ed, there’s a guy in the procession who does not know the deceased. He’s high on spring pollen and giddy with dopamine. Slow down and signal the cop escort. Older white male. White CRV. Take him out… on three.”