Those who live in the southern climes may have difficulty imagining the long wait for the first signs of summer experienced by those who live in the great northern woods. Here at the top of Michigan, our years are dominated by the long death of winter and the sudden and violent emergence of summer. Spring is a state of mind here, for often it includes snow storms and very cold weather. Easter bonnets have ear-flaps in the Keweenaw...
Still, one watches and listens for the first sounds of summer. The warm breeze that sneaks around the corner of the house in the morning or the sounds of summer birds drowning out the faint knocking of that crazy woodpecker who winters in the woods out back -- these are signs that summer is tunneling its way through the remnants of winter's blessings.
Tunnel to Summer
I can't account for the hours spent,
Listening for the summer voice
Of the northern forest -
Bright morning hopes, dashed
By the chill whisper
Of winter's ghost.
Tree-limbs tap timorously,
Rhythmically in the frigid draft,
The bone-chilling breeze -
Carry the sepulchral sound,
Of dry bones clacking
In the twilight of cold morn.
The tunnel vision of my ears,
Denies the near-silent solemnity
Of spring denied,
And seeks the faint aural flame,
The aeriel harmonies and tones,
Only the beautiful beacon
Of summer's advent can sing.
At last, the torch of halcyon song,
The aery aria of summer sings,
And the warm melodies of golden light,
Touch the grey limbs -
Locked in the long death,
And sear them to violent life.
A tunnel to summer opens,
And the green glory springs aloft,
To paint the chromatic canopy,
In verdant tones of vibrant virescence.
I hear the golden corona,
I feel the fiery touch of light,
I see the song of the forest alive,
And I know the journey is complete.