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Harbingers of Spring

(reposted from Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin's blog: http://blog.bjen.org/, dated March 8, 2012)

Right on time, the peepers have returned.

They greeted me after megillah reading last night, singing their chorus of longing into the soft, warm March air.

Well, one did at any rate. It was, as usual, a lonesome call of an avant-garde male, out before the rest, desperately hoping that at least one of the pond's she-frogs has emerged from her hibernation seeking a long-delayed, refreshing, gratifying tryst.

It is a daring audition. But then again, pioneers are, by definition, singular folk, carried aloft and ahead by their visions and passion, fueled by the same breath that gives wing to their song. If they are right, or lucky, or both, their solo turns into a rousing, transporting chorus that lifts the spirit and well-being of all. So it promises again to be for this little fellow, and his awakening cohort of lovers.

In 2008, they emerged around March 5. In 2009, around March 7. Last year, no doubt the same time (I came back from Cambridge around Purim-time and heard the peepers in full chorus then). I know because I mentioned them in this blog.

The cycles of the seasons are comforting, reassuring. It seems prudent to give up all expectations of a late-winter blistering blizzard (I will shelve that hope and dust it off next winter). But that disappointment is soothed by the peeking out of spring crocuses and daffodils, the heightening chatter of birds, the lengthening of daylight (growing by a hefty 2.5 minutes a day!) and the spring leap of the clock this weekend.

One more sign that spring is pressing hard to come: sunrise is no longer visible from my south-easterly-facing study. It is time, then, to retire my snow-starved boots, crank up the compost, clean out and close up the forlorn wood-burning stove, shed the pleasures of cozily hunkering down and ramp up for the joys of … Passover preparations.

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