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Kunin: Infinite Shades Of Green

05/23/12 5:55PM By Madeleine M. Kunin
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(Host) 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 surprise.

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 wildflowers.

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

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