End of March, Snow, Sunrise, Full Moon Over River 017

Spring was moving in the air above and in the earth below and around him, penetrating even his dark and lowly little house with its spirit of divine discontent and longing. ~ Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

The spirit of spring, for me, certainly includes the divine discontent Grahame mentions, but perhaps it feels more like a sacred and welcome effervescing than a discontent. It is a readiness to emerge…I wonder if it’s felt by butterflies as they pierce the sheltering confines of their cocoons?

I yearn to muck about in the gardens and to co-create with the earth, to honor my winter’s rest by cleaning the house from top to bottom. This is the time I listen for the river’s spring song, familiar yet always new, as though my Creator is calling me forth into the new season’s green dance.

First spring canoe ride 008Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing—absolutely nothing—half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. ~ Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

Phillip was home from work last week, and we decided to tackle some home improvement projects, but also planned daily adventures that took us out and away from home. Last year, temperatures in the 80’s allowed us to get all the gardens cleaned, weeded and mulched. This year, they’re still sleeping beneath the snow.

End of March, Snow, Sunrise, Full Moon Over River 064The river was barely open at the beginning of the week, then gradually the ice retreated and at dawn, returning ducks and geese floated dreamily down the river. By Friday, most of the ice had melted, so off we went on the year’s first canoe trip.

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First spring canoe ride 078The pictures, I think, make it look like we had a chilly ride, but it was really quite pleasant, though utterly absent of green. Still, the spring smells of thawing earth and the glorious birdsong bathed us in promises the next few weeks will keep.

First spring canoe ride 041We met some men fishing for walleyes and another pair using a seine, probably for carp.

First spring canoe ride 046Sandhill cranes and Canada geese called and flew overhead, red-wing blackbirds chimed along the bank, and we met the pair of ducks that nested in our garden last spring. This year, our fox has a new hole very near the “duck garden,” so I hope they’ll nest elsewhere.

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First spring canoe ride 112The rest of our week together was happy: we took a day to go antiquing, and spent our Easter Sunday with family, but it’s the lovely time in our canoe that consecrated the week most profoundly for me, leisurely paddling and listening to the waking earth and river sing our spirits back to life.

By the river and with it and on it and in it…It’s my world, and I don’t want any other. What it hasn’t got is not worth having, and what it doesn’t know is not worth knowing…  ~ Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

Phillip returned to school today and I started the housecleaning after he left this morning. A crew has come to the bridge to pull up and replace the old planks and side rails. The incessant beeping of their front-end loader as it backed up, over and over, initially made the pups bark protectively until they were sufficiently reassured and accustomed to it, a good thing, since the bridge repair is scheduled to last the month.

Sunrise, Easter at Angie and Tim's 009The temperature is near freezing, but I stepped outside to shake some rugs and watch the light dance over the river. A few last pieces of ice floated by and I watched two male cardinals battle for a nesting site. I noticed a female waiting and watching. I wonder if she favors one or the other? I wanted to stay outside, but the air was cold and my indoor chores called me back.

I hope I’ll have time again this afternoon to walk down near the riverbank and listen to the river’s music, singing over and over, “Come; join the spring’s green dance!” Winter muscles need practice to get back in shape and I want to be ready to dance up a storm when spring comes to stay.

…when tired at last, he sat on the bank, while the river still chattered on to him, a babbling procession of the best stories in the world, sent from the heart of the earth to be told at last to the insatiable sea.  ~ Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

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10 thoughts on “Riversong

  1. What a wonderful post. It was great to see the ice being forced back in that first picture, it’s now only a matter of time before winter gives up and retreats with it’s tail between it’s legs!!
    What a contrast between the weather last year and the weather now. We have the same problem, it’s still freezing here whereas this time last year it was cracking the flags !
    I now love your river too and can’t wait to see it burst into life, although there is already plenty of activity going on there. How lovely that you got out in the canoe, the views are breathtaking.
    Those cardinals are gorgeous! I do hope your ducks stay safe!xxxxx


  2. Oh, thank you, my dear Snow Bird! It’s so wonderful to see the river rise up again from all the snow…hope the drought doesn’t return this summer, and so grateful we can canoe again.

    Those two cardinals have been vying for the favored site (and probably for the female, too) all week. Goodness; it’s not like there aren’t acres of trees and space (and female cardinals!) out here, but I suppose they each want the very best location for their nest.

    Should be about 50 degrees (about 10 C) by mid-week…yay!

    Buds, blossoms, and the sweet scents and songs of spring to you!


  3. Ah, it is that exciting time of year again 🙂 Spring is fixing to spring! I spent the morning getting all of my bird houses cleaned out and the vacant signs put up. I saw the blue bird peeking inside them all on Easter so I figured I better hurry up and get them ready. Peonies are poking up as are the Daffs…I can’t wait. Glad you had a lovely Easter and a wonderful week with Phillip to play and explore. I know the pups loved it! Blessings to you all at the cottage! VK


    1. Sounds like you’re about a week ahead of us, VK: How cool to have bluebirds in your houses. They flit about here and there, but I’ve not seen them nest in the houses we’ve set out for them. Maybe this year! I so appreciate your generous heart and blessing, VK; thank you so much.


  4. Kitty, your journey on the river by canoe was so breathtaking. I grew up canoeing and I miss it – the last time I canoed with my husband, we floated down the Clarion River sideways 🙂 I finally said “You never went to summer camp, did you?” and of course, he hadn’t and had no idea how to paddle or handle the boat. So I am thrilled at your trip and slightly jealous. The song of spring is strong, isn’t it? That discontent is just pent up energy claiming a creative release. It sounds as if your weekend put you on that journey. As always, your sensitive and poetic posts make me smile and nod in agreement and in fellowship of a shared journey. Thank you for sharing.


  5. Thank you for visiting, Lynn…I am a water baby and so is my husband. He grew up on a lake and we’re both at home on boats, though I wish I was a better sailor. I always get tired of rigging and dodging and would rather paddle or row! Yes, creativity certainly bubbles up in spring, that’s for sure…now, if I can only focus! 🙂 Joy to your April!


  6. Loved the picture of the duck… but all of them were so beautiful, I felt as if I was with you and Phillip, spiritually at least, on the canoe… what a wonderful way to begin the new year of nature… The river seems such a perfect place for getting very close to nature. This post is such a pleasure to read.


    1. Thank you, Shimon! you’re right; it is a way to inaugurate the new year in nature…I’m blessed to have such a strong paddler with me. I’m glad you felt you were traveling with us! Peace to your April, my friend.


  7. It is looking icy cold but there is also that peace and serenity that comes from being at peace with one’s self and with nature. I would have loved going on a canoe with you in this lovely place. 😉


  8. Thank you, Malou; you’re so right: chilly and peaceful! That’s Wisconsin for you! 🙂 This weekend’s rains will possibly wash the remainder of snow away and, although I noted freezing temperatures were forecast for one night this week, it looks like spring is finally making her entrance! 🙂 Joy to your sweet family and your wonderful adventures!


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