Ides and Clover and the Fever of Spring

As predictable as the calendar, I turn the page to March and recognize the Bard chanting lines from “Julius Caesar” in my head:

Caesar: Who is it in the press that calls on me?/I hear a tongue, shriller than all the music,/cry “Caesar.” Speak, Caesar is turned to hear.

Soothsayer: Beware the ides of March.

Given the raucous, unsettling, weird political times in which we find ourselves, perhaps we all should heed the call: Beware. But it isn’t just the world of men who calls a warning. Nature, too, is shaking her finger at us. Pay attention. The turmoil in our government is matched by the topsy-turvy weather. Record somethings happen daily: floods, high temps, mudslides, snowstorms. Beware, indeed. Gaia, you have my attention

My local swell of earth and sky also sends a message. Two months before their usual arrival, the red-winged blackbirds have returned to the pond. They perch on the worn, brown stalks of cattails and squawk out in bird code the daily briefing. Buds are flourishing  that should still be asleep. If the temperatures plunge, all that blaze of spring glory will wither. While neighbors relish the opportunity to go coatless, a deep uneasiness takes hold. This spring fever may bring an illness that cannot be cured. And all along the path I walk in the nature park, clover breaks the surface. Too soon, I murmur, as I pass, but plants obey the beat of a different drum, the light and warmth of the day beckoning them out from slumber.

Caught up in the strange rhythm of the moment, I follow my writer’s heart to the core of story, drafting and revising, aiming for a resolution to my personal angst over the times in which I find myself and the situations in which I involve my characters. They, too, are swirling in the fever of my spring planting…seeds of plot and character and theme and prose rich enough to send them skyward. That’s what we hope for our creations, whether they are seeds sown in the earth or seeds scattered on the page. Caught in the loop of expectation and concern, I pursue the end game, ever mindful of the danger along the way. Beware, traveler, but stay steady. The course is rocky, but the reward is great.

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