Word of the day

A spring is a length of metal coiled into shape and given a job.

A compression spring, like in your mattress, is a fierce loner. It doesn’t want to be squeezed. A tension spring is more social: it’s the arm that pulls folks from their seat to the wedding reception dance floor. A torsion spring is an outcast. It doesn’t push or pull, but twists along its axis like a spiral metal nebula, ribbon-thick. It’s the mouse-trap spring; a windshield-wiper guillotine. But it’s an artist too: the soul of clocks, metronomes, and wind-up toys.

Long before toys, weddings, mattresses, and metal, a spring was the source of a river. An explosion of water from the ground. Less a thing than chaotic, unpredictable motion. Pure verb. Spring forth. Spring up. Spring into action. An archer’s bow is a spring. So’s a trampoline. So is the sound of accidentally kicking a doorstopper in your childhood home.


To bounce, burst, explode. Even that feels insufficient. Because the personality we twist into steel with force: that’s its spring. It’s noun, verb, and adjective. A spring is a creative promise that describes both purpose and potential.

We can’t know how it got its potential, but the resultant sproing of the Big Bang has been productive. The source of the cosmos. Chaotic and unpredictable, sure, but a metronome too. This is the paradox that allows a watchmaker to mimic celestial motion using a trio of dials, jostled only by a spring.

Spring is a season. And a season is a spring.

It is the equinox. The balance between dark and daylight, decay and rebirth, hibernation and awakening. The tension in the coils have reached their apotheosis. The reckoning can begin.