Monday, April 21, 2014

Four Letter Words

Most of us have heard about four letter words. The minute you mention them, many immediately think naughty words. But this time of year, hope is a four-letter word. As is soil, seed, rain, bird, root, stem and grow. Four letter words-- every one. As I roamed about my yard planting hollyhocks, bachelor buttons, sweet William, zinnias, and other butterfly attractors, I kept thinking, I hope for moisture and that the hard little hulls I tucked in the earth would sprout roots and stems to unfurl skyward under warm, spring sun.

With the advent of t-shirt and shorts weather, I see people walking about area towns with a spring in their steps. All of us are tired of winter’s leafless silhouettes. We’re weary of seeing only sere grass and stick-like bushes. Our senses ache for hues of green and brilliant blossoms.

Even birds agree. Those not yet on the nest warble noisy courting songs, perform antic dances, and ruffle feathers, hoping to attract mates. Who can help but smile while watching such crazy expenditures of energy, knowing it’s one of those four letter words—hope-- that drives each of us to do all we can to make the most of these few perfect days of spring.

During a painting class I recently attended, students explained to our waterlogged Wyoming teacher that we need rain. Unlike us, she’s seen an excess of moisture recently, so she struggled to relate to our craving for wet stuff. While we enjoyed the mild temperatures and balmy days with her, she treasured 24-hour sequences that didn’t require use of snow shovels. She  wasn’t looking forward to the predicted rains and snow on her homeward journey. Despite her dismay at the weather reports, we were giddy, hoping precipitation might move our way.  

Without moisture, we look forward to more blowing dust, bare fields, dirty cars, as well as stunted vegetables and blossoms if we can garden in our communities. Rain brings optimism for green yards, wheat, and a harvest. Those clouds building on the horizon have no idea when they pass us by and sprinkle on another town what they do to those thirsting for water-laden droplets.

We’re so dry here that folks normally indignant when rain ruins their plans behave gleefully when they have to move track practice or outdoor picnics inside. Those of us wearing spectacles relish coming indoors from the sprinkles to wipe our glasses dry.

Not only have the few little dribbles we’ve received perked up spirits, they’ve also jolted dormant perennials into production. Bushes that were tawny canes days earlier have sprouted hordes of pale green buds. A wheat field behind my house turned lush blue-green and grew at least two inches in nothing flat. I should have set up a stop action camera on it. I’d have captured amazing footage of high-speed growth.

Yep, this time of year, four letter words rule. Dirt, bird, seed, rain, and hope are important elements of spring. I’m all for saying as many of those words as I can in mixed and unmixed company.

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