Me & Mary, Captured by the Light

Below the waterfall, April light in Lightspring Glen

We are nine days into April and today’s temps, promised to soar into the low 40’s, are a much yearned for, very long-awaited warm-up and hopeful heralding of Spring’s full arrival. By this date each of the four previous Aprils, I’ve already thrilled to the Spring peepers’ evening chorus here at Lightspring Glen. This year I’m imagining these wee amphibians are only now starting to stir out there behind the still-snowy hemlock woods. On a brighter note…literally…the recently returned and persistently optimistic song sparrows were singing this morning in the 20-degree chill air.  Ah, and as I write this, Simon and Garfunkel are softly reminding me, “April…come she will…”

Like countless other Northeasterners who’ve been experiencing advanced cases of Spring fever, I’ve chafed at being cooped up far too long. The salvation has been the annual enchantment of the growing light and rapidly lengthening days. Although I grouse for a while each year at the artificial “clock adjustment” of Daylight Savings Time (I love the very early morning), there comes an evening when suddenly I am astonished at how light it still is at 6:30 pm and how beautiful the afterglow lingering on the western horizon.

Then at last there are sunny days like today and the open woods shimmers with moving, singing water bubbling up from the hillside springs, flowing merrily in little brooks to the ponds, cascading down the waterfall and chortling off through the Glen. This week’s promised rain will wash away the remaining snow and deepen the waterfall’s voice. When I turn off the light at bedtime how I love to lie listening to it in the dark.

April is also National Poetry Month and I so enjoy the mini-celebrations here and there on social media. Two years ago I paid a Spring-time tribute to Mary Oliver, “Again, the Dazzling Question” [] In her poem simply titled, “Spring”, how she conjures such evocative, mesmerizing images and soul-stirring reflections through her newly-wakened black bear. So, “in the brisk and shallow restlessness / of [this] early spring” once again I welcome this beautiful One back to the blog-space of this Earth Pilgrim, me. Once again She rises from her winter’s sleep and comes down the mountain through Mary’s stanzas, bringing us her dazzling darkness. And once again, I linger over these lines: There is only one question: / how to love this world.

How indeed.

Thank you, beautiful Bear! And again, thank you, Mary Oliver….for everything!


a black bear
has just risen from sleep
and is staring

down the mountain.
All night
in the brisk and shallow restlessness
of early spring

I think of her,
her four black fists
flicking the gravel,
her tongue

like a red fire
touching the grass,
the cold water.
There is only one question:

how to love this world.
I think of her
like a black and leafy ledge

to sharpen her claws against
the silence 
of the trees.
Whatever else

my life is
with its poems
and its music
and its glass cities
it is also this dazzling darkness
down the mountain,
breathing and tasting;
all day I think of her —
her white teeth,
her wordlessness,
her perfect love.
~Mary Oliver



2 thoughts on “Me & Mary, Captured by the Light

  1. I just found your blog. Thank you so much … I, too, yearn for Spring … yesterday’s cold, rainy day did not console me, but, Mary Oliver’s poem did … I shall come back anew to read other entries.
    Yvette (Communion of Creative Fire)


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