It helps, when one is teaching Beloved and reaches the line that is today's title, to be able to gesture over one's right shoulder, out the window, to the gathering clouds and the rising gusts--to be able to say, "And within five minutes the sky is going to open up and we'll get to remember that spring is fighting its way in," to have their groans met by the first slapping of rain against the windowpane's ripply weathered glass, to have a sunspotted walk to class bookended by a slower stroll home through rainsmell and windhush, aftereffects of a swift-flying storm.
Some of our setting, yesterday and today:
Honestly, I thought I had more images than this to give you. You'll have to imagine: clouds roiling across the sky, heavy and grey where this morning they were light and curling, spiraling against brightest blue; heavy branches and trunks bowing and dipping at stately paces while their finer extensions trace and scratch and shake; the last of last autumn's brown oak leaves cycloned up from the ever-greener lawn, to hang and circle in mid-air like birds riding thermals; the quieter, wetted hesitance of birds singing out after downpours. The living steel of it all. The entirely ungentle pushing out of one season by the next. April, cruellest, making room for itself, no matter the damage.
Yesterday evening, pileated woodpeckers in the ravine: you can tell them from crows, even if you can't see their red heads, by looking out for the white undersides their wings flash in flight.
And now, later: the reason for the force and fierceness at midday becomes clear the second I step out the door of the officehouse at 4 p.m. to go give myself motion sickness with the microfilm machine (I'm afraid that not enough people saw the travesty that was Possession to have appreciated my microfiche joke from before, so I've swapped it out). The temperature has dropped twenty degrees--from 62 to 42--since noon. Suddenly socklessness is a terrible decision; suddenly having shawled before office hours is a stroke of brilliance. The wind keeps pushing and shoving, the old season attempting a reconquest. The best picture I could offer of the afternoon's aftermath would be my wind-hit cheeks or my chapped knuckles. But instead, the haphazard of first leaf-furl, fighting with late winter wind (the crooked horizon is actually the roof of the library; because of the way the wind was blowing, I was happy to get anything focused at all):