Happy Passover and Easter! This holiday weekend, I’m in a happy, yet contemplative mood. I look back on my New Year’s resolutions and while I’ve completed some, I’m still working on others. The promise of spring is that it’s still early enough in the year to make my resolutions and dreams come true. Or I can change my mind, push the reset button, and start anew.

What is spring to you?

To Emily Dickinson, spring was madness, and so she wrote this:

A little madness in the Spring
Is wholesome even for the King,
But God be with the Clown —
Who ponders this tremendous scene —
This whole Experiment of Green —
As if it were his own! 

T.S. Eliot, in The Waste Land wrote:

“April is the cruelest month, breeding
lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
memory and desire, stirring
dull roots with spring rain.” 

To those living in America’s northeast or Europe’s north, this month must be especially cruel. One day keeps the promise of spring and the next brings winter back again. But nature is forever optimistic. Crocus buds shoot through the snow to toward the light. Bluebirds find a new (or old) home to birth their young. And pileated woodpeckers, squared off in a shouting match, call and drum, then listen for the other to respond.

10447874_10152272367081843_321612176003547025_n bluebird outside bird house from timeline

One cannot help but feel joyful in the spring. Even Hemingway, who was never the consummate optimist, said in A Moveable Feast:

“When spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be happiest. The only thing that could spoil a day was people and if you could keep from making engagements, each day had no limits. People were always the limiters of happiness except for the very few that were as good as spring itself.” 

I know it’s spring when I have this innate urge to dig in the dirt. This week, I’m busy planting pots full of succulents, in keeping with California’s fourth year of drought. Getting down to earth, I close with Margaret Atwood in Bluebeard’s Egg:

“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.” 

This may be Australia’s worst cyclone ever! Yasi has crossed the north Queensland coast and is starting to unleash the upper range of its violent 290km/h winds.  Please pray for these Aussies, for their lives and safety. We love them dearly!

Gunter and I spent an extra year of our circumnavigation in Australia, although most of our coastal cruising was done in Queensland. When in Darwin, preparing for the Sail Asia Rally, we visited the museums there. The worst cyclone in Australian history was Cyclone Tracy. Here is an audio of that disaster: http://media.news.com.au/multimedia/2011/02/yasi/audio/cyclonetracy.mp3

I describe in my book “In Search of Adventure and Moments of Bliss: MAIDEN VOYAGE” how we were delayed in Puerto Vallarta by the first hurricane of the Central American season, Hurricane Adolf, in May of 2001.  There, I learned from an expert sailor/weatherman how to track hurricanes on the internet. When it appeared that Adolf was turning out to sea, we decided to head out for the passage to Cabo across the Sea of Cortez, only to find out at the fuel dock that he had changed course yet again! We returned to port (one of the few times we did that during our entire eight-year circumnavigation) and took the Escape Adolf Tour to Tepic instead.

Needless to say, I am now using my skills to track Hurricane Yasi, from the comfort of my San Diego home. (I’m also tracking yet another ferocious storm plying the U.S. Midwest).

As I write this, the eye of the storm is approaching Dunk Island, where Pacific Bliss anchored before heading into Cairns the following morning.

For satellite images, go to http://www.goes.noaa.gov/sohemi/sohemiloops/shirgmscol.html

For the latest updates, go to http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/

To go to Cyclone Yasi’s Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Cyclone-Yasi-Updates/159989674052293