By mid-March in western New York, in a crow’s distance from Lake Ontario, the weather begins its annual twitch. It’s the season of flux: ice versus flood. Everything is on the verge of Spring.

For me, Spring starts to show its face on the kitchen clock. As soon as time falls forward, we gain an hour of light and lose an hour of sleep. I am dumbstruck by this. I stare out the picture window, wanting to take a long walk to see for myself— wanting to be a part of the oncoming change.

Soon patterns of sound return to color the landscape: chevrons of Canada geese honk this way, this way. The leader, I’ve been told, is usually female. She knows the way by heart, and I wonder how many in her wedge-flying-in-the-sky are her own children with their partners and their offspring, or siblings and their partners and children; and what about the elders? Where are they in this clan’s V-formation? Thousands of Canada geese return and join the geese that stay through winter. The skies at dawn and dusk resemble an airbase for eight weeks; then, things settle in with the sound of engines: tractors whining as they cut through the muddy, mineral-soaked fields; chainsaws revving in their slicing wood into right-sized logs for next fall and winter’s burning; lawn mowers cutting new grass—that intoxicating smell: green and tender. In the sudden warmth, the peepers, no bigger than an inch, begin to sing softly in the muddy ponds beneath the willows; then louder in their climb up the trees. Their chant: alive, alive, alive, and I am glad that I am still alive, listening closely to their sound inside of sound, as if I could be lifted up and carried along with them.

M. J. Iuppa’s fifth full-length poetry collection The Weight of Air was published by Kelsay Books in May 2022, and a chapbook of 24 100-word stories, Rock. Paper. Scissors. is forthcoming from Foothills Publishing in 2022. For the past 33 years, she has lived on a small farm near the shores of Lake Ontario. Check out her blog for her musings on writing, sustainability & life’s stew.

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