A perhaps hand – or so ee cummings said in his poem – he of the absence of capital letters and punctuation school of thought.
And this year, this particular spring, his poem seems more pertinent than ever before.
We seem to have lived with Perhaps for the past 12 months, after all.
Perhaps we’ll be able to meet in a month or so – perhaps we will be permitted to share a park bench by next week – perhaps we will get our normal lives back –
Then there’s cummings other spring poem, in just – and the wonderful phrase when the world is mud-luscious.
At least it used to seem wonderful to me, but after a winter of wet walks to wile away the weariness of lockdown after lockdown, returning home with mud-encrusted boots or trainers, mud-luscious is beginning to seem a loaded and loathed phrase rather than a luscious one.
Each year it is reliably unreliable. In England, at least. Very much of the can’t make my mind up about which dress to wear kind of season. Snow and freezing conditions one year, soaring near summer climes the next.
But some things are predictable.
Magnolia trees for a start. How I love a magnolia tree in full bloom against a blue sky – like an accent wall suggested by the Dulux colour visualizer app.
And lighter, longer evenings – and a different kind of light, one that seems clearer, translucent, lacking that brittle sharpness of winter light.
The spring equinox stars us off in the right direction, of course. Equal hours of day and night with the equation swiftly starting to tip in a more generous direction, heading us towards the giddy heights of midsummer.
Then the clocks cleverly leap an hour ahead all on their own when we’re tucked up in bed and fast asleep, like some overbearing Time Lord who fancies skipping an hour of one particularly tiresome, dreary night.
And Easter itself.
That’s certainly another of those perhaps occasions since sometimes it’s celebrated on a moody March weekend and other times finds itself only just eluding the festivities of Mayday.
The arrival of spring this year does feel more poignant then ever. We can’t help but look back to last spring when, no doubt, the thought in everyone’s mind was that spring 2021 would present us with a very different prospect.
And yet here we are.
Yes, infinite gratitude being expressed for the vaccines with conversation openers even with near strangers – socially distanced – in the supermarket along the lines of And have your had yours yet? Which one? Got a date for your second? Any reactions?
And it goes without saying that there is more overwhelming thankfulness if we – and our families – have escaped the ravages of the virus.
(Have you noticed that no-one talks about the weather anymore? That old staple of mindless conversation and small talk has been jettisoned entirely for more current concerns … )
But even so.
By spring 2021, we were expecting more.
But maybe I’m being ungrateful.
After all, the birds seem to think it appropriate to serenade us with their song. Those magnolias are insistent. And grass banks and verges and gardens are putting on their usual display of resplendent daffodils in support of the season.
The Greek word for spring is Anoiksi – (can’t do the Greek letters on this keyboard!)
Which is, you might or might not know, also Greek for ‘open.’
It’s a lovely connection.
And perhaps it will feel the same for us.
Spring 2021 might just be our perhaps hand – holding itself out to lead us into the light of good things ahead.