Second April

Our feelings toward April are mixed. As Edna St. Vincent Millay writes in “Second April”

To what purpose, April, do you return again?
Beauty is not enough.
You can no longer quiet me with the redness
Of little leaves opening stickily.
I know what I know.
The sun is hot on my neck as I observe
The spikes of the crocus.
The smell of the earth is good.
It is apparent that there is no death.
But what does that signify?
Not only under ground are the brains of men
Eaten by maggots,
Life in itself
Is nothing,
An empty cup, a flight of uncarpeted stairs.
It is not enough that yearly, down this hill,
Comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.

Not that we don’t enjoy April — despite the pollen — and we love that life seems fresh and new. But sometimes we too need a bit of help with our collective buzz:

Doctor Fun - Bees that drink decaf

Our biggest ibiblio buzz is that former ibiblian, Gabriel Dance, was cited in this year’s Pulitzer Prize for his work on The Guardian‘s NSA Files: Decoded.

Spring Snow

Spring and snow. They should not come in the same week, but too often even here at ibiblio world headquarters, they do.

He suddenly wakes up and finds that he is impervious to the snow. Not only that, but it is speaking to him. He decides that he will write down the words of the snow, and, as he studies them, they gradually begin to melt, giving way to spring. After he has written down all that there is to know about the crystals they vanish completely, and people begin to awaken from their frozen slumber.
From a synopsis of Abe Kôbô’s 1951 short story, “Shijin no shôgai ” appearing as “The Life of a Poet” in English from the ibiblio Abe Kôbô site [Linked content no longer available]
As you might expect, Project Gutenberg has a large collection of various writings on the snows of springs past. But you may not realize that Spring Snow is also the subject of a contradance, a type of sturdy crab apple, a “New Light of Myanmar” article on ocean plant blooms,

1944, a C-46 transport plane flying over the Hump.
In Hyperwar‘s scan of the 1944 FM 70-10 War Department Field Manual for Mountain Operations, we learn:

New firn snow is compact, granular snow that is composed of closely associated grains instead of individual flakes. Heat-softened new firn snow is refered to as Spring Snow by skiers.

Winter’s Almost Gone

“Winter’s Almost Gone” so sings Roger McGuinn in tribute to Pete Seeger in this month’s free music download at the Folk Den. Although February seems solidly winterly especially this year, the ibiblio offices in North Carolina are warm and we’re thinking of planting bulbs and looking for crocus blossoms to push up through what passes in North Carolina for frost and frozen earth.

Pacific Bulb Society logo
Luckily, we have the Pacific Bulb Society to help us plan. The Pacific Bulb Society was founded in 2002 and has been hosted here at ibiblio for most of its life. The PBS Wiki is a volunteer-written encyclopedia about flower bulbs. The members have collected and shared information on thousands of bulb species (with photos in most cases), plus selected hybrids also covering related topics like how to grow them, how to obtain them, their personal favorite bulbs, and where to see them in the wild and in gardens. This wiki includes all “geophytes:” plants with an underground storage organ such as bulbs, corms, rhizomes, and tubers. [notes lightly adapted from]

While looking for crocus blossoms, we always refer to this handy guide from Project Gutenberg, “How to tell the birds from the flowers.” Indispensable and seemingly inexhaustible.

How to tell a crow from a crocus