A Final Thought: Ode to Mid-March


By Mitch Allen

Distant treetops wave their bare branches in a stiff March breeze, a thousand scolding fingers admonishing the young god Helios. He has failed again to bring the sun across the sky in his golden chariot— no match for the thick, late-winter clouds of Northeast Ohio.

Months of trash tossed from our vehicles reappears beneath melting snow like little corpses rising out of icy graves. So many dead, surely there was plague.

Rubble chiseled out by snow plows has turned our roads to river bottoms. Their salt, the last remnants of Lot’s wife, flows in our gutters on its long journey to the sea.

Tangled, forgotten, Christmas lights hang lifeless from the gallows of our rooflines above plastic leprechauns who promise a treasure far greater than pots of gold: Hope.

Blue herons revive old nests silhouetted against the grey-white sky, looking for all the world like pterodactyls carrying in their sharp beaks black sticks as long as their Jurassic bodies.

On south-facing hills, crocus and daffodil peer out like timid children under white bedsheets, asking, “Is it time to wake up? Is it? Is it?”

Soon forsythia—the maestro— will lift her bright yellow baton in front of Northeast Ohio’s entire deciduous orchestra, summoning the first note of spring’s symphony. Japanese magnolia, the oboe pink and white, will give the A440 tone, unfurling her blossoms in the lengthening sunlight, followed by the concertmaster, strings, woodwinds, brass, the timpani, then—here they come!—goosebumps in a glorious late-May crescendo.

In the woods, velvet antlers rise from pedicles of white-tailed bucks who stretch to reach new buds. Red foxes shed their winter coats revealing the lush fur which inspired the name Adam gave them.

Listen, hear the young wilderness of the Western Reserve calling to Moses Cleaveland’s exhibition, “Here, sir. Right here.”

Lake Erie’s shoreline begins its metamorphosis from frozen moonscape to sandy beaches kissed by frothy green waves. Walleye swim eagerly up her tributaries to ancient spawning grounds—Sandusky, Vermilion, Black, Rocky, Cuyahoga, more.

On Hope Memorial Bridge, Guardians carved from Berean sandstone open their Art Deco eyes to a new beginning, alert for the crack of a bat, the pop of fastball into leather mitt, the roar of a crowd filled with fresh hope for its venerable tribe.

Hikers, round and stiff from a long Covid winter, return to the Towpath and MetroParks as surely as buzzards to Hinckley. Before our eyes, amorous muskrat, beaver, turtle, mallard, green heron, redwing blackbird flirt without embarrassment in optimistic courtship.

Naples, Florida, swells with restless believers baptized in the burning river. Moses calls; the city gates open.

It is time to let our people go home.


Categories: Smart Living