My birthday is the end of April and is otherwise known as Beltane Eve. It’s a magical time and the world around me has always felt like it was joining in the celebration. Everything is now green, everywhere you look. My mind flips the switch so completely, I can’t even remember the brown world we just left. It’s like it never happened. Growing up in New Hampshire, I was on the opposite end of the Springtime magic that is now my life in North Carolina. My Northern birthday was first crocuses and sometimes peeking through a surprise snowfall.
In New Hampshire, the first robin was a safe conversation but down here I saw that happy couple a month ago. Down here, I am at the mercy of greedy, aggressive hummingbirds, many varieties of hungry birds, the goldfish are awake and the Peregrine falcon is rebuilding her nest by the pond.
Down here, my yellow tulips are almost over, the pink ones are peaking, the peonies have big round buds ready to burst open, the woods are full of an amazing assortment of odd little flowering plants that you need to kneel to see with a flower guide in one hand and magnifying glass in the other. I must have forty varieties of azaleas on my property, planted by the previous owner in shades that are almost fluorescent to others that are soft and delicate.
Look how she leans away from her family,
when he shines that smile at her.
Fickle woman, eager to lose it all, for
a forbidden glance from a springtime lover.
The verse above comes from a poem I wrote about spring; it was part of a series of seasonal poems. It was inspired by a single azalea branch that grew a foot longer than any on the shrub and at an odd angle to catch more of the sunlight. It was a risky move, to stick out her neck for a kiss from a fickle lover. She was in mortal danger of getting trimmed and so she lost her head for a forbidden love. I won a contest with that poem and everyone wanted to know, who I was seeing and wasn’t I afraid my husband would find out. A few who knew my husband told me I was a bitch to cheat on him, he was such a nice guy! Being the nearly-autistic and clueless person I am, I was confused. I showed my husband, who was not a poetry-reading kind of guy and he shrugged. He was a laconic kind of guy.
I showed the verse to my new husband and asked if he thought it hinted at infidelity. He is not so laconic. He told me that if he were to believe anything I wrote, he’d be more curious about where I hid the bodies. He’s my kind of guy! How do you deal with people’s odd reactions to something you wrote, and do you have a particularly odd one to share?