Springtime in the Sierra makes me want to write a poem, but I can’t. I’ve tried. The last poem I was able to sweat out was on my binder in 10th grade, and it probably first appeared as graffiti on a column at the Pantheon: “Latin is a dead language, dead as it can be. It killed the Romans and now it’s killing me.”
Albeit, I have a friend, John Wright, who can write about springtime:
All that’s worth knowing, is found in the quiet,
Outside the long reach, of impulse and need.
To hear one’s own breathing, opens the chambers;
To hear our heart’s beating, sows fertile seed.
The quiet gives wings, to slumbering wisdom.
Silence bears softly, the dawning of dreams.
The deeper pulsations, of Time’s endless flow,
Shine brightly through mists, like moon glimmered seas.
Mark Twain also had a word for this time of year:
“The frost was working out of the ground, and out of the air too, and it was getting closer onto barefoot time every day; and next it would be marble time, and next mumblety-peg, and next kites, and then right away it would be summertime and going in a-swimming. It just makes a boy homesick to look ahead like that and see how far off summer is. Yes, and it starts him to sighing and saddening around, and there’s something the matter with him, but he don’t know what. But anyways, he gets out by himself and mopes and thinks; and mostly he hunts for a lonesome place high up on the hill in the edge of the woods, and sets there and looks away off on the big Mississippi down there a-reachin’ miles and miles around the points where the timber looks all smoky and dim, it’s so far off and still, and solemn, it seems like everybody you’ve loved is dead and gone, and you ‘most wish you was dead and gone too, and done with it all. Do you know what that is? That’s spring fever.”
When one lives in the Sierra, she longs for the first freshet of the coming season, for as Twain put it so poignantly, “To one sympathetic with nature, each season, in its turn, seems the loveliest.”
More capable muses inspire me to write a rhyme that adequately emotes my heartfelt sentiment about springtime at the Lake of the Sky:
Each morning when I awake,
I strive to match the majesty of the lake.
Each evening as I fall embarrassingly short,
I feel a better person for the sport.
Perhaps I should best leave it to the masters to welcome the seasons. Have a nice spring.
Shiloh and Mark Twain will celebrate Nevada’s 150th anniversary at the Mark Twain Cultural Center & Toccata Guttman Music Hall in Incline Village at 7 p.m. on March 29. For reservations call 775-833-1835. To learn more about McAvoy Layne, visit www.ghostoftwain.com.