The Lunatic Quality of Spring

I am lost today to tasks and meetings. A litany of lists and that longing feeling I surrender to whenever I am about to embark on a big journey. I see myself literarily straddling two worlds, like the Colossus of my own life. One-foot firmly planted in home life and the other reaching clear across the world to my endless wanderlust. This time, I prepare to venture to India for the first time and to leave behind my beloved spring in the Hudson Valley and downtown New York City.

I adore spring because it has a lunatic quality to, and I very much identify with that capricious changeability. Last week when I rode to meetings I carried mittens, a hat, scarf and extra jeans to ward off the cold and wet. Between trips,  I festooned my radiator with layers of sopping outer garments. I would then quickly switch to new dry clothes and head out again. Sort of a pit stop in the race of the last days of winter, and now it is 92 degrees, the hottest April 7 on record. Hot to cold, wet to scorching, a sort of menopause of mad April.

And so I thought it was appropriate that today the wonderful folks at Knopf sent the Edna St. Vincent Millay’s Spring as part of their Poem of the Day.


To what purpose, April, do you return again?

Beauty is not enough.

You can no longer quiet me with the redness

Of little leaves opening stickily

I know what I now.

The sun is hot on my neck as I observe

The spikes of the crocus.

The smell of the earth is good.

It is apparent that there is no death

But what does that signify?

Not only under the ground are the brains of men

Eaten by maggots,

Life in itself

Is nothing,

An empty cup, a flight of uncarpeted stairs,

It is not enough that yearly, down the hill,


Comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.

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