Monday, April 11, 2011

Notes on Spring

Today while riding to town in the marshutka, I made some notes of small things that I have noticed as the seasons have changed.

The river -- As the rain continues to fall and the snow in the mountains melts, the river has risen. Swollen waters now overflow the lower rocky banks and are edging their way up toward the upper grassy bank. The water has turned brown as the increased volume quickens the flow and stirs up silt from the river-bottom. All the snow melting off the Caucasus in Svaneti is on its way to the Black Sea, 20 kilometers south.

Fish -- Last Friday was an Orthodox holiday -- the day that the angel appeared to Mary and told her that her life would change forever. Orthodox Christians always eat fish on this holiday, so Koba and his friends went fishing in the river. They showed up at the house with a huge plastic tub of fish -- the catch was divided up evenly among the seven fishermen, and we were still left with almost 30 fish -- small, but so many! I asked how they could catch so many -- remembering my few fishing days back in Maine when I was small, and what an eternity it took to get even one bite on the line. Tea said that they cheat -- they use some device that shocks the water, and they scoop up the fish in a net. Just like shooting fish in a barrel!

The cows and buffalo -- Back in late fall, I posted about the cows coming home at the same time every day -- between 4:30 and 5. Well, it seems that they are only punctual in the fall and winter. They gain an independent streak in the spring -- last night they didn't come home. Tea said that they must have found some extra nice grass somewhere, and refused to come home. When we got up this morning, they were out front, lying in the road -- recuperating from their wild night out.

Newborn calves -- Tiny babies, furry and clean with ultra-velvety noses smelling the apple-blossom scented air experience their very first days -- new sunshine, new rain, new night, new wind, new clouds, new skipping through the hazelnut trees, new butterfly-chasing, new nuzzle from their mothers -- all for the very first time.

Spring -- It is an actual season that lasts longer than one week. The cool temperatures, rain, grass growing longer and greener by the minute, flowers appearing little by little -- all of these subtle changes are happening in a time-span that is stretched out over weeks -- even months! Not the single week of spring between winter and fall that seems to be the norm in Pennsylvania. And I love it!

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