Spring in Leeds

Sunday, March 7

Aye, mate! It’s that time of year – when the flowers start blossoming, the birds start chirping, and the lambs are frolicking on the hills… Ok, ok, not really. I’m a hopeless romantic in so far as Jane Austin, but not for the changing of seasons. Isn’t this the place where the great English poets that I study were inspired, here on this very island? Yet I come upon some extraordinary paradoxes in the land of the King’s language.

For one, the grass is green all year round. It never reaches permafrost, so even when the snow melts, there is green stubble coming up. And the birds here – I’m convinced they’re confused, because they chirp all winter long, and in the middle of the night! What bird in its right mind chirps in the middle of the night unless it’s an owl?! The flowers, though, are lovely. I am awestruck by the assortment of perennials that have popped up almost overnight. Really, they’re gorgeous. They look like one of those unrealistically perfectly landscaped flower gardens you see in the seed magazines. I know a lot about seed magazines because my mom, bless her, has been for year trying to grow impossible plants in the impossible New Mexican soil.

I guess every region, and every continent has its native plants and animals to suit its own climate and terrain, but England from far back as my knowledge of history goes has been acquiring things from other cultures and lands, a consumer, a trade guru, an international hybridization from other lands. I mean, think about their Chinese inspired Gothic architecture, gunpowder, horses – where did those come from? – spices, tea, even many of their trees and flowers weren’t native – the apple, tomatoes, potatoes, corn came later from the Americas. Jolly ol’ England, you little borrower!

Well, I need to get on to bigger and better things, like reading Lloyd, Pope, Leaper, Finch and Gay, and maybe some Wordsworth… so off to my castle lair I will recline as soon as I make my tea. Proper rest hence I must take so I don’t take ill and spoil my complexion. Good ‘morrow, ladies and gents.

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