A Light Exists in Spring by Emily Dickinson
A Light exists in Spring
Not present on the Year
At any other period –
When March is scarcely here
A Color stands abroad
On Solitary Fields
That Science cannot overtake
But Human Nature feels.
It waits upon the Lawn,
It shows the furthest Tree
Upon the furthest Slope you know
It almost speaks to you.
Then as Horizons step
Or Noons report away
Without the Formula of sound
It passes and we stay –
A quality of loss
Affecting our Content
As Trade had suddenly encroached
Upon a Sacrament.
This Emily Dickinson poem captures that moment when, in early March, we’re on the cusp of spring–the days are growing longer, the nights not quite so cold, and some flowers are already in bloom.
Dickinson specifically discusses light in this poem and the powerful effect it has on both nature and people come springtime–the very word is in the title, and it’s the “it” she speaks of in the third stanza that “waits upon the Lawn,” “shows the furthest Tree,” and “almost speaks to you.” This repetition highlights the word’s importance: light is life-giving. In spring it renews our health and our spirits, and nature is reborn.
In the final two stanzas she refers to the loss of light and how its absence breeds discontent–sometimes how we feel during the gray, gloomy days of winter. As such, the poem seems to end on a more somber note, especially contrasted with the hopeful tone of the earlier lines.
This makes me wonder, quite simply, “why?” Why end a poem about the special light of spring in such a way? Looking at the poem altogether, Dickinson appears to be contemplating the intricate relationship between nature and people (something that is truly a common musing amongst poets–all three of the other writers that I’ve discussed on past posts have numerous poems on nature and our place within it).
Seasons change and affect our moods, our activities, our lives–and how we choose to spend them. I feel that she’s commenting on the impermanence of things–light comes and goes, just as all seasons do. But there’s something unique about the bright light of spring after the darkness of winter because of all the hope and beauty that it brings.
With one foot in winter and one in spring, it’s that in-between time of year when the weather is at its most temperamental (especially in the Pacific Northwest!). Yet this in-between time produces some of my favorite conditions up in the mountains–blue sky, scattered clouds, and fresh powder. My husband and I took advantage of these perfect conditions to hit the slopes earlier this week at beautiful Mt. Hood. He’s a far better snowboarder than I am, but we always have a blast!
This is what I wore on the drive up there, and this soft ruana (also known as a poncho or wrap) I purchased on sale from Nordstrom after Christmas. Wraps are ideal attire for that awkward transition from winter to spring, when layering is key for unpredictable weather. I love the black and gray checkered pattern of this one, and it also happens to be reversible! I will definitely be wearing it on future travels because it looks stylish but has all the coziness of a beloved blanket.
I adore beanies with oversized pom poms, and this faux fur one by Kyi Kyi was a Nordstrom Rack find over the holidays (I found it still available online directly from the Kyi Kyi website). My waterproof ankle boots are by Ugg Australia and are unfortunately sold out, but I linked a very similar Ugg option above.
Happy Friday, everyone!