Saturday, March 02, 2013

There's No Going Back Now

Tucked in a sheltered corner, the first snowdrops of the season!
February is gone. The lion winds of March are sweeping what’s left of winter toward the melting warmth of April. There are signs—daylight lingers in the sky until six in the evening and glows again softly at six in the morning. The zealous sun melts the snow in daytime, no matter how many times the temperature plunges after dark. My path and driveway are slick with ice from the tug of war between winter and spring.

There is a change in the air as well. There are cold days, to be sure. Today's sleet forced me to bundle up when just a few days ago I had to shed hat and mittens and loosen the top button of my coat. It is such days tucked between the cold ones—the teasers—that are the first indicators of seasonal change. The great shift will occur when the teasers are the norm and the cold days come as a surprise.

There is a freshness to the air that belies the staleness of the snow. I can almost smell spring, the sweetness that comes of freshly plowed ground and of green and growing things. When the afternoon sun shines down on the south-facing snow banks, Robert Frost’s silver lizards wiggle down the slopes, countless little rivulets of melted snow making their way into oblivion. My nose, all my senses, know what’s coming. 

So do the birds. The chickadees that come to the feeder slip into their two-note spring song now and then, as if practicing for April. High in the treetops the little finches that winter over sing to each other in the late afternoons. A few winter hardy robins venture out of the roadside brush to flit over the meadow, their orange undersides flashing brightly against the snow. The geese have just this week returned to fill the skies with their raucous vees and the red-winged blackbirds have come back to stake claims in the swamps. In just a few weeks the silent mornings will again give way to the joyful sounds of birdsong and evenings will be serenaded by spring peepers.

It is the season of bursting catkins, of the yellowing of willows and the reddening of dogwood withes. I know my garden perennials are beginning to stir deep down at their roots and I've just spotted the first snowdrops pushing up through the leaf mold. The maple trees give no visible sign that soon their sweet sap is rising but some are already decorated with collecting buckets. Seed and flower catalogs outnumber any other in my mailbox and those that sell clothing are introducing their summer lines. 

The pastel season is approaching. The glaring white snow, the dull gray clouds, and the washed out blue of the sky will give way slowly to petal pink, to daffodil yellow, to that lovely, ineffable shade of new leaf green. The months of waiting for spring have turned to weeks and will turn to days soon now - soon.


Brian Miller said...

ah i cant wait for the pastel season to get here...we are def seeing spring signs...the trees are starting to bud...still cold...and that march wind is def cutting...but it wont be long...

Friko said...

yes, yes, yes. It’s all true.
Millie and I had our first long walk today in bright sunshine. I bundled my gloves into the pockets of my coat and lowered the zipper.

Tired old winter must go.

Hilary said...

Sigh! You're a bit ahead of us if you're seeing snowdrops and hearing the red-winged blackbirds but only a bit because I'm noticing all of the rest also. Chickadees do that squeaky gate sound and cardinals sing "birdie, birdie, birdie." Yup.. soon. Thanks for your always-beautiful writing.

Out on the prairie said...

March makes me want to fly a kite and take in those strong winds.

Judith said...

What a wonderful post of hope!
Yes, the signs are beginning to appear, but we need eyes to see them and ears to hear them, and the less practiced among us need to borrow yours, for which --- many thanks!

Kerry said...

I love this, Pauline. We are having teasers too. Today was a big tease: bright blue skies but a biting cold breeze. I love the weather, whatever it is.

Marc Leavitt said...

You have an exquisite grasp of metaphor, and your mindfulness, as
ever, is refreshing; like the spring.

Anonymous said...

"The pastel season"...perfect description. I'm ready for it!

Anonymous said...

Two days ago it was 29 degrees. Today upper 70s. life is funny.

Star said...

Just starting here too but it's so late this year!
Greetings from England.

Molly said...

It's been warm all winter here and now in March come wild winds and chilly weather! But We enjoy it 'cause we know it can just as easily shoot up into the eighties tomorrow!

P.S. I miss snow drops!

Pauline said...

Brian - we just had a foot of new snow fall yesterday!

Friko - it's still hanging on here but soon, soon!

Hilary - and thank you for your compliments :)

OOTP - oh! me too!

J - any time ;)

kerry - me too!

marc - I thank you!

Barbara - as soon as this snow melts...

WOG - funny as in haha, and sometimes funny as in peculiar!

Star - your flower photos give me hope :)

Molly - hope it warms up for the first week in April. Wish we could get together!

Peter Bryenton said...

Teasers here too: unwelcome snow like winter's old dandruff eclipsed the skies today but didn't last. Nor could it hide the daffodils.