For me, spring is full of promise, of new life, of reaching out and grasping at every burst of light, every bud, every unfurling leaf. Summer, by contrast, is lethargic and slow; the summer sun weighs heavy on even the brightest flowers, and the summer air is cloying, oppressive, thick with decadence and disappointment. Summer promises everything and fails to deliver; but with Spring every sunbeam is an unexpected gift, every snowdrop is a diamond in the dirt, every moment of warmth is a swift and fierce embrace from a new love.
So why does light through new leaves bring tears to my eyes? Because the beginning is always the beginning of the end, the wheel always turns. No matter how free and clear the air feels, no matter how the sun sparkles on the river or shines on budding romances; no matter how lightly the hours pass, still they pass.
The trees are coming into leaf
Like something almost being said;
The recent buds relax and spread,
Their greenness is a kind of grief.
Is it that they are born again
And we grow old? No, they die too.
Their yearly trick of looking new
Is written down in rings of grain.
Yet still the unresting castles thresh
In fullgrown thickness every May.
Last year is dead, they seem to say,
Begin afresh, afresh, afresh.
-- Philip Larkin
'I'm rising five,' he said,
'Not four,' and little coils of hair
Unclicked themselves upon his head.
His spectacles, brimful of eyes to stare
At me and the meadow, reflected cones of light
Above his toffee buckled cheeks. He'd been alive
Fifty-six months or perhaps a week more: not four,
But rising five.
Around him in the field the cells of spring
Bubbled and doubled; buds unbuttoned; shoot
And stem shook out the creases from their frills,
And every tree was swilled with green.
It was the season after blossoming,
Before the forming of the fruit: not May,
But rising June.
And in the sky
The dusk dissected the tangential light:
But rising night;
But rising soon.
The new buds push the old leaves from the bough.
We drop our youth behind us like a boy
Throwing away his toffee wrappers. We never see the flower,
But only the fruit in the flower; never the fruit,
But only the rot in the fruit. We look for the marriage bed
In the baby's cradle, we look for the grave in the bed: not living,
But rising dead.
-- Norman Nicholson