April is so noisy, full of sound. Nature wants you to know she’s waking up.
Nature would especially like the new neighbors to know she’s waking up, and that keeping your trash cans out on the neighborhood easement is not great for hungry bears. The birds are especially musical this season, as if the sunrise has its own song. I hear the clop of elk hooves on the street below, the herds making their way toward the thawing creek. The cracking sounds are my favorite, though probably less natural. It’s still seasonal! The crunch of malted Robin’s Egg candy when I steal it from the Easter basket stash. The pop of the plastic eggs I filled and then in a moment of weakness decided to empty. Easter has come and gone now, so there’s no need to ruminate on mistakes past—or to tell my children my evil schemes.
The loudest crack of all in April: the ice on my roof giving way to the sun and avalanching off of my house. It is terrifying every time. A pop that sounds like an asteroid crashing through the upstairs wall, the dog instantly alerted and howling his head off. It scrapes from one level of the house to the next like nails on a chalkboard, until it collapses in a full-on artillery-level explosion on my deck or the front stairs, or really just the noisiest landing pad it can find.
Ah, the sounds of the season.
Although, once my nerves recover, there is a peace after the ice avalanche. It’s as if the house breathes a sigh of relief, the quiet that follows the cacophony is resounding. Almost without realizing, I shrug my own shoulders, release them, count my heart slowing. It makes me want to crack my knuckles or my neck and shed something of my own.
I’ve been thinking a lot about letting go this spring, which is funny, because in my writerly brain, that’s more of a fall theme, like beautiful deaths and leaves fluttering to the ground and hibernating animals. But the further I pondered it, I realized how interior the fall and winter months become. We hardly notice this in the buzz of holidays, in the false fresh start of turning the calendar page on a new year. Still, that busyness has nothing to do with molting. In fact, we probably hang on to extra, in an attempt to do everything and hold it all together—extra pounds, extra people, extra stuff. The noise of the winter is something we accept, something we even celebrate, but the true meaning we hold quietly in our hearts.
Not spring! Spring wants to make a declaration. Can you hear it? The tittering, splintering, clomping, colliding alarm clock of spring is asking you to open your eyes and be awake. And what’s the first thing we do in the morning? Throw off the bed clothes! We symbolically shed. We clear the way to rise up from bed, to poke our heads into the day like a budding flower popping through top soil to finally unfurl. Butterflies free themselves from cocoons. The deer shed their antlers. Soon—oh gosh!—the ponderosa pines will unfurl their pollen and we’ll all be releasing then, just sneeze after sneeze after sneeze. There’s enough “letting go” metaphor in spring to make you sick (or allergic).
But it’s still the noise that has my attention. I think, when you have a column in a magazine, people assume that’s your platform, your space to say what you want to say. It’s fun to write here, to share a joke or an opinion, but in daily life, there’s plenty I don’t share—but I feel it, hibernating inside of me. And, perhaps a little later in life than many, I find myself wondering, what would really happen if… I just spoke it? What if I made my own morning songs and crackling announcements—could I go through my whole day like the greeter of the sun or a house freed from an icy shell? Imagine the lightness of it!
Like, maybe I should just tell the neighbors they can’t put their trash cans there.
Or maybe there’s something more to it, like finishing an MFA and realizing that it’s time to start shopping words around again. This, to me, is horrific and terrifying and so completely exciting. It’s a crack and a slide and an explosion, and then, I bet, it’s the feeling of relief of having done it, of having sent something out.
So, if you need it, this is your sign, with spring springing, to wake up and say the thing you need to live out in the world. Make some noise and join the season’s symphony and bask in the sunny peace that follows.
As for the neighbors, I will most likely be hanging an actual sign on the garbage bins, but signs are different for everyone.