Tiny newborn wild rose leaves along the shore seem impervious to even hard frost.
- I retain enough of my childhood upbringing to have an occasional tinge of the religious rituals I followed faithfully in early years. One of those, of course, was Lent, a season of deprivation meant to make Easter all the more glorious. This year is practically a reenactment, as winter seems determined to make us appreciate better weather when it finally arrives.
- In less parochial terms, the solstice sun will be gladly welcomed as daylight outlasts darkness once more. Obviously a few minutes more here or there do not add dramatically to Earth’s heating, but psychologically the next seasons are already in view, and all of them promise optimistic adventures. Adjectives describing spring and summer are rarely depressing, and even fall _ inevitably tinged with sadness _ is more reflective than despairing. Simply said, we are glad to see winter depart, even if that only occurs on a calendar.
- Equinox is the true start of the new year for those of us at this latitude, on this continent. Once the latest blizzard snow melts away _ more quickly by far than would happen in January _ we will be back to the almost too rapid changeover from white and brown to glorious color.
Stubborn snow drifts from our recent ice blizzard resist the notion that spring has arrived.
- As has happened for eons, weeks of mild weather were recently followed by deep frozen nights, inches of ice, and northern blasts of wind. Bulbs and low plants were protected by blankets of snow, but some opening leaf buds have been blasted back into black crumbles. Perhaps they can survive, perhaps their branches will be lost as well.
- It’s always good to be reminded of the capriciousness of nature. I become too used to predictability and think it is normal. After all, store hours are set, food is always available, my life attends seconds clipped by electronic quartz crystals. Each day can be much the same, regardless of outside conditions, if I so choose. I only need expose myself to what was once known as reality when I want to. So a blizzard is a nice slap in the face delivered by fate, reminding me how lucky I usually am.
- I was taught to sing “Faith, hope and charity.”
- I suppose nowadays it goes “Greed, fear, and misery …”
- Just when it had seemed this would be nearly a year without chill, like some late patron of opera, winter arrived with flashy fanfare. It was not so much days of snow, nor inches on the ground, nor sleet itself, nor even deep freeze the day after. What annoyed was malingering and refusal to make way for the next stage of spring.
- Snowdrop flowers, delicate crocuses, half-up tulips, nearly-open daffodils were encased deep under a layer of solid ice. They may have been the luckiest. Exposed buds and leaves were brutally eliminated by prolonged temperatures near the lowest of this year. Now we wait and see what, if any, permanent damage has been done.
- Waiting for spring in March is a lot like waiting for utopia. We keep hoping it will arrive any minute, and that perhaps there is a little we can do to guide it along, but soon enough all plans are smashed and we are cruelly reminded that reality is reality, and all the old patterns will always remain. Old patterns will always triumph. And, in spite of that, things will probably work out ok.
- Even on the coldest days, in the strongest winds, under the bleakest skies, birdsong is becoming louder and more continuous. No matter the conditions, birds are taking to flight, often in pairs. Territoriality has broken out on the shoreline and around the bird feeder as the breeding season approaches. Life may be tough, food may be hard to find, but the avian population is driven by instincts honed to the timings of sunrise and sunset.
- Bird watchers anxiously peer through binoculars to add new species to their life lists, or to reacquaint themselves with old friends. Many marvelous guidebooks now provide an infinite resource for such hobbies. I am less detail-oriented, perhaps because I now find that for each fact I acquire each day, I seem to forget a few others I used to know well. My most important task has been to replace attitudes like “oh, it’s just some birds,” with “wow, what a wonderful woodpecker!”
I wonder if it is still too early to get some pansies to brighten up our patio. The sun says no, the ground and air say yes. I think I’m gonna give this decision to the sun.