2 min read

On the earliest spring of my life

The groundhog's verdict is not a solution nor a bypass for the climate crisis, and yet I've allowed myself to find some solace in the superstition.
A small yellow daffodil with two thin green leaves in the middle of a thatchy grass lawn.
A lot's gonna change in your lifetime
Try to leave it all behind, in your lifetime

Born in a century lost to memory
Falling trees, get off your knees
If your friends and your family sadly don't stick around
It's high tide, you're gonna be just fine

When Weyes Blood's 2019 record Titanic Rising came out, I called it "a climate era masterpiece," its artist "my generation's Carole King." Though the album hasn't achieved the ubiquity of Tapestry, this track bubbles up in my mind each time the climate crisis makes itself visible in my sheltered cradle of temperate forest. For the first time since I can remember, warm winds arrived before February's end. A lot's gonna change in your lifetime.

Aries season has just begun and already the crocuses are behind us. Daffodils and violets were in full bloom by mid-March, a month or so earlier than usual. Last weekend, a few days of snow and bitter cold wiped out most of the violets—no syrup this year, I'm afraid. It seems likely that this is springtime in the Great Lakes for the foreseeable future, however far forward we dare to look. I see 20th century platitudes rendered obsolete: March comes in like a lion with a lamb in its teeth and the groundhog never sees his shadow again.

Many threads of European pagan practice are woven into the national mythology of the so-called United States, and the ritual known as Groundhog Day is no exception. This year, the chosen rodent bearing the land's native name predicted that spring would come early, and the prediction was correct. The groundhog's verdict is not a solution nor a bypass for the very real changes happening to our ecosystems and their very real consequences. This year, though, I've allowed myself to find some solace in the superstition and let the early spring feel good when it feels good.

The unseasonable warmth has given me both cause for concern and immense relief. With this turn of the wheel I find myself emerging from an emotionally excruciating winter, having separated from my partner of six years around the winter solstice. Truthfully, the early blossoms and sun rays have been balms on my broken heart. The fresh air that flows through the cracked windows of my house that used to be our house sings to me: it's high tide, you're gonna be just fine.

Both can be true at once: crisis and survival, fear and joy. Besides, the groundhog said it's okay. Hail psychic animal weather divination! May we not forget that we humans, too, are animals capable of attuning to the earth's patterns. Tell me, what truths does the early spring whisper to you?