Kunin: Infinite Shades Of Green

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As spring turns our world green again, former Vermont governor and
commentator Madeleine Kunin reflects on the color, the season and our
reaction to it.

(Kunin) Who could have thought that May would
bring us so many hues of green? We feel refreshed just by slowly gazing
at the trees, in all their newborn shades.

For a brief period,
our thoughts can turn away from the bold black headlines of the daily
news, and our ears can silence the angry voices that disturb our sense
of equilibrium.

It is restorative to rediscover the delicate
green leaves that have emerged, seemingly out of nowhere, slowly
unfolding themselves in delicate filigree patterns against the blue sky.
The heavy evergreens assert themselves on hillsides by both their
stately size and their well defined dark clusters.

We learned in
kindergarten that by mixing blue and yellow, we create the color green.
But which artist played with those paints so happily and endlessly to
give us this almost infinite palette of greens?

Layers and
layers of green are set one upon the other, sometimes framing fields, a
deep brown soil freshly tilled and slightly damp, waiting to be sown.
Sometimes I want to brush against the newborn leaves, gently, carefully,
so as not to impede their growth.

The onset of spring follows a
familiar pattern; it is a gift of renewal, of rebirth. We have
witnessed that miracle ever since our own birth, perhaps even before we
were conscious of it. Why then, does the advent of spring still

Could we have harbored doubts in those gray, sullen
days of winter, doubts that it might not return in full bloom? Were we
afraid that perhaps this year, with all the foreboding that accompanies
climate change, we would have to confront a modified spring, one without
myriad greens, even one without  bird song.

No, not yet. Spring
is here, as expected. We need not fear a silent spring, as Rachel
Carson warned, when she wrote her book 50 years ago. Thanks to her,
birds still alight on tree branches, build their nests of leaves and
twigs and sing their songs of procreation.

See if you can spot a
robin red breast high up in the branches, more visible in spring than
in high summer. Breathe in the sweet exhalations of buds and

Yes, spring has returned to Vermont – just as we dreamed all winter, that it would.


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