The Rite of Spring

Spring came mid-March this year, the first day falling
on the same day I’d have headed for my annual Madison writing retreat.
The past several years, up until the pandemic two years ago,
I’ve gone to Madison yearly on a personal writing mission.
I write, do nothing but write, for five days straight, morning to night.
My sojourn always begins the first few days of spring.
I love Mad City then because it’s still cold enough to energize me.
Winter was a wonderland when I lived there,
but spring was always my favorite season.
From the perfectly chilled air, to the flowers beginning
to push up through the fading ice and snow,
to the buds and little leaves popping out on tree branches,
everything is so fuzzily green and growing back,
that time of year perennially honored as the occasion of rebirth.
And I believe I am reborn a bit when I visit.
The writing flows, powerfully welling up
with a kind of youthful vigor I had in those faraway days,
more than forty years ago.
Without realizing, I must have stockpiled that force,
left pieces of my twenty-some year old energetic self
for the time I did not know would come but do know now,
when I would have lost much of it, be in need of a refill.
So I left it there, scattered about, to tap into,
like a keg of Old Style or of Point beer.
I discover it everywhere, catching a burst of that young vitality at every turn.
And I am glad to find it, this unconsciously gifted spirit to my future self,
a held promise that if I ever came back, it would be waiting there for me,
always ready to jump in and help power my imagination, just as if
I were still living back in that long ago time.

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