Signs of Spring
It’s the end of March, and a friend who lives higher up emails, There is still a foot or so of snow outside the door. We know spring is here for a bear has ripped off the bird feeder, the coyotes have been howling close by and a skunk has sprayed the bushes next to our door.
Another friend sighs and says, “I wish it were spring already.”
Spring is here.
It’s just not yet the time of pastel flowers that we associate with the season. That comes later, especially up here in the north, where spring is a long season of mixing/Memory and desire,/stirring dull roots long before it breeds lilacs out of the dead land.
What to Look For
Signs of spring are everywhere; you just have to know what to look for:
- Snow fleas jumping on the surface of snow weeks before the earth tilts past the equinox.
- Rotting snow banks that no longer offer a pillow of protection if you slide off the road.
- Mud! Its smell as the ground thaws; the way the ground gives underfoot.
- Sap rises from the ground; steam from the sugarhouse.
- We attend the annual rituals of Town Meeting and Sugar-on-Snow.
- Ice out.
- Geese honk at splashdown, announcing their return.
- A red winged blackbird back at the feeder.
- No more feeder: the bears awake.
- Deer linger, looking for browse to stave off starvation
- And coyotes.
- Spring, like birth, is perilous.
- A possum crosses my headlights.
- The hens are laying again.
Today, the penultimate day of March; snow blankets the pasture, but it’s receding, like an ebb tide.
Today, I’ll bring forsythia branches indoors to force, but I can’t force spring. It will come – not in a straight line, but in it’s stuttering one.
The sun is warm but the wind is chill.
You know how it is with an April day
When the sun is out and the wind is still,
You’re a month ahead in the middle of May.
But if you should so much as dare to speak,
A cloud comes over the sunlit arch,
The wind comes off the frozen peak,
And you’re two months back in the middle of March.