Indeed, the body knows. It knows when the moon’s glow is full again, when I need protein, when a 10-minute nap will revive me. Often I can even tell time by the sun’s slant and shadow. I guess I’m just keyed into natural cycles, and my geography: I’ve lived most of my life around the 40th parallel. But I’m wondering if this corporeal keenness is on the fritz lately.
It was only 6 weeks from seed to sprout – from deciding the most peaceful state in the union would harbor me for a spell to trading in my Brooklyn apartment for a four bedroom farmhouse on the midcoast – and it was there I found myself in March, unbundling from the snowiest, most glorious winter I can remember – but…something was off. My internal guidance system’s controls were spinning and I couldn’t get my bearings.
I’ve been totally kerfuffled by the Maine spring, what with global warming, the extension of Daylight Savings Time, and the fact that this was the longest transition from winter to summer ever. At 4 weeks away from the longest day of the year, it was a balmy 48 degrees. And today, 3 days from the solstice, I am scarf-free for the first time in 8 months.
It’s been tricky syncing up on the 44th: I cash out-of-state weather checks and they bounce. The northeastern spring sauntered instead of sprung, and the sun rises a few degrees differently here. Like a blindfolded child trying to pin the tail on a spring lamb, I fumbled around, grasping for signposts.
Do I pick fiddleheads, asparagus, and rhubarb or break out the sandals? I’m used to sunny evenings happening later in the season, not in March when it’s still cold. The cherry blossoms, forsythia and daffodils of late April are more familiar when they’re poking up through a last snow dusting and I’m not used to May nights that dip into the 30’s. This June, I christened 2011 as the year of my Cashmere Spring. Who knew that moving 400 miles north would result in such discombobulation?
So I pull that woolen cardigan tight and recalibrate my inner compass, scoping for environmental clues, seeking time’s relativity in the external: the groundhog who’s sniffing around the side yard, the sailors in Camden who raced to see who’d get their schooner in the harbor first, the riverside fields getting their brown winter coats burned off.
Once I equipped myself to navigate instinctually, it dawned that it’s not a monologue, it’s an intimate conversation. That spring cleanse revealed both my body’s intelligence and its blind habits far more than what I knew existed. I’m adjusting my interior thermostat these days, acclimating to Mother Nature’s seasonal stimuli and the ways we manipulate it to accommodate our modern busy-ness.
Now if I can only get those bustles out of my hedgerows. (don’t be alarmed, it’s for the May Queen.)
Another one of my change-of-season musings: Everything Is Illuminated