Beginning of Spring

By Leanne Ogasawara

March 30, 2020

Beginning of Spring

Beginning of Spring

The Chinese calendar had it right. Insisting that spring begins in February is to begin a season at the beginning, when the season is only just awakening, a quiet stirring.

Spring begins as the east wind melts the ice, when insects begin trembling, quivering, shivering. In Tokyo, it begins when the nightingales sing:


Chanting a thousand times a day, like a Buddhist sutra. The beginning of spring is cold. Plum blossoms covered in snow shimmer by moonlight.

In Pasadena, it is the bulbuls that sing the beginning of spring, sweetly on cold mornings. Sometimes mornings in February bring the parrots, squawking maniacally in the trees or as they move across the sky in gigantic flocks. At night, peacocks shrieking in the palm trees can be heard for miles:

"Spring is here, Spring is here!"

And, “Oh how charming it is when the dandelions appear in the second month,” Lady Sei Shonagon might say. Dandelions blanketing my neighbor's lawn, I think, "Isn't it charming?" Then with the third, fourth, fifth flush of oranges, comes the goldfinches. Like fluttering golden chunks of sunshine, little piggies flying, I watch them feasting at the bird-feeder out my kitchen window.

This is the world awakening:

Spring is here, spring is here.


Leanne Ogasawara has worked as a translator from the Japanese for over twenty years. Her translation work has included academic translation, poetry, philosophy, and documentary film.


Photo by Michael Murphy courtesy of Unsplash

comments powered by Disqus « Back to Beautiful-Things

Newsletter Sign Up

shadow shadow