The past couple of days, Spring has made a bit of headway around these parts.
Winter, as usual, was quite reluctant to give up its icy grip but finally some warmer days have melted just about all of the snow (with the exception of snowbank remains in shady areas). The grass is beginning to show some green, and the waters are open once again, to the delight of the local waterfowl. Ducks, geese, gulls, herons…all wildlife has returned and the scouting for nest location has begun. It is a wonderful time of the year.
One of my favorite things is to sit in the car alongside one of the local ponds or lakes and watch the ducks and geese come soaring in… skipping across the water like a flat stone and settling in for a paddle. Some scolding and territorial fights arise and it can get pretty active.
I can imagine that the water feels good…clearing off dust and mites. I have to admit on the cold and windy days I sit and shiver and they splash around like they are in a hot tub. You have to admire exuberance like that.
In the same way, I stretch my mental wings, wash off the dullness of winter and get down to the business of living, loving, BEING in the present moment. For here is the secret of happiness..right before my eyes. Shaking off troubles, embracing the newness of another season, finding the lesson in the observing.
Simplicity. Pure simplicity.
We are a few days into Spring now…the temperatures bounce back and forth, the wind blows cold and biting and some nights still dip into single digits. But it’s a great time of year for spectacular skies as shown in this sunrise photo and a sunset photo further down in the blog. The only thing is, you have to be ready for it. If I had been in the kitchen I would have missed this sunrise on the first day of spring. The snow is melting slow but sure, the long icicles that hung down over the windows are now a memory. The first narcissus have popped up next to the foundation.
The garden centers are advertising their Palm Sunday open houses coming up and I am getting itchy to see color in the yard once again. I am hoping to get some small begonia plants that I can get started so that by May they can be put outdoors. But as the warmth plays hide-and-seek, May seems to be light years away.
No matter, everything comes in due season and having four distinct seasons makes me appreciate each one in its turn. By the time one has been around for a while I am ready to greet a new one. The comforting hiss of radiators (yes, we still have those in this old house and I LOVE them) will be replaced by the breeze of ceiling fans. Hobbies and interests change, except for photography which is ongoing. Soups and stews make way for firing up the grill and lighter fare. The lake in my sunset shot just above will be teeming with ducks, geese, gulls…and over in the outlet some blue herons and egrets, hawks, maybe even an eagle if we get lucky.
Now to get rid of the rest of the snow….
Remember the sunflower from a few days ago?
It’s been out i the snowbank ever since I stuck it there, and our snow HAS been melting. As you can see in this photo, we still have some more melting to go. We did have some fresh flurries today and into this evening but it’s not really unusual for this time of year. We ARE ready for some nice days however. Whenever they decide to get here. One of my favorite quotes about this time of waiting is by Henry VanDyke…”The first day of spring is one thing, and the first spring day is another. The difference between them is sometimes as great as a month.”
But it is getting a little lighter earlier in the morning, and staying light until 7 or a bit beyond. You hear even more birds singing their spring songs. The snow piles are gritty and crystallized. And it is just about mud season. All the small signs that the ancient cycle of life is enfolding as it should. Soon, windows will be open wide to let in fresh, sweet air and the earth, and our spirits, will be renewed.
In the sun room, the plants that wintered over are perking up. Soon I will get some seeds and start plants in pots to move out when the weather permits. It is an exciting season filled with hope.
And the promise of new life.
Warmer days, back to colder days…gray skies. So, you start to look for color and cheery things to make you smile.
We stopped at a local country store for lunch last week and after lunch I wandered around a little and took some photos. I had not been there since before Christmas…now all of the Easter delights are out on display. Bunnies, ducklings, Easter eggs…signs of Spring even if there is still a foot of snow in the yard (down from a couple of feet at least)
But, the birds are singing, and there IS a difference in the song as mating season comes in. We get occasional days where you get a whiff of Spring-sweet air and you rush to open the windows..only to close them late in the day when the temperature falls. The icicles have just about melted from the roof line, snowbanks are receding, and although we can still have a good snowstorm or two the tide is turning. Whenever I begin to wonder if Spring will ever get here, I stop and realize…
It always has.
It’s been a while since I posted, but the past few days we have had a real break in the cold and snow. Perhaps a January Thaw…in March?
These mallards – along with a few dozen extras – found open water in a drainage ditch and took advantage to swim, preen winter-weary feathers, and take naps on the surrounding snowbanks. They looked as happy as a lot of the people I have been seeing.
The warmer weather corresponds with my own freedom from the sling and “house arrest” from the broken arm and ribs. I started PT, and part of my added exercise is to do camera lifts! We got out to a local country store the other day for lunch and here at home the snow has melted enough that I started cleaning the path of sunflower seed hulls from the back yard under the bird feeders. The other day, tired of seeing all the snow, I took one of my artificial sunflowers and stuck it in a snowbank outside the window. Think it may have had an effect on the weather?
Whether or not it did, (and my guess is that it really had no impact whatsoever) the long awaited preview of days to come has arrived. It will be short lived as a wintry mix is due over the weekend but we are “short time” on Winter now. I am MORE than ready.
I bet you are too!
In about 26 hours, it will be March.
February, in these parts, has been one of coldest and snowiest on record. Average temperatures between 12 and 13 degrees. Not only here but friends in the southern states…you know, the ones who let you know that the daffodils are budding…have also been dealing with cold, ice and snow.
In my working days, when I would tear off the calendar page for February, seeing the word March at the top of the calendar seemed like a turning point. Even though we can easily get snow into April, March always meant “You’re almost there.” It will be a miracle if I see the back yard by the end of the month but the lion’s share of Winter is history. Deep beneath the snow cover the spring flowers slumber and soon the tight buds on the trees will get JUST a little bit bigger. The sun will shine just a little bit warmer. And the daylight will be around just a little longer. We will start to hear the bird symphony in the morning. The world wakes up, and inside of us our plans, dreams and hopes also awaken. It’s the cycle that is ever faithful. I am ready.
How about you?
With the colder weather the past couple of days, I am back to taking some frost pictures.
I had posted a couple of them to another site, and a friend reminded me of this photo that I posted abut 3-4 years ago. Frost can be created in feathery, beautiful patterns and every now and then…come out almost like a picture. This looked like a young lady – perhaps looking out a window or through garden branches – and I had forgotten all about it. Until yesterday.
Every season has something beautiful to offer. Winter has its share of headaches as pipes freeze, or cars skid but it is also a season of incredible beauty. The sparkle of sun on new powder, the art of icicles, or the patterns in frost. The juncos come back to the feeders, and the flash of red as a cardinal swoops down into the yard can warm your heart, if not your hands and feet. Beauty is all around us…
What will YOU see today?
We have had light, dry, on-and-off flurries the past couple of days and the stage is set for our first below zero temperatures tonight.
This is the time of year when hot coffee/tea/cocoa are at their best. A good time for hearty soups and stews. Crusty breads. The house feels cold around the edges and I pile the pillows high on the day bed and add a fleecy blanket to tuck around me as I sit and read. My cat snuggles in, or dozes on the radiator cover where the heat is most concentrated. I have 2 new books to read… just finished 2 other books…and when I am not reading I am sorting through pictures on the computer or cleaning closets and drawers. I fill the feeders and watch the birds as they jockey for position, sharing the seed that falls to the ground with the squirrels. You can love or hate winter but it doesn’t make it any shorter. So you might as well enjoy what it has to offer and give thanks for warm homes and the lights in the windows of the homes around you in this season of early darkness. Below the ground, the garden sleeps and I dream of Spring.
It WILL get here in its own time. It always does.
It is gray and damp outside and the weather is calling for some snow and a “wintry mix” starting later this afternoon into tomorrow. The temperature is supposed to rise, and then plummet by Monday. Crazy weather.
We have had two “snow events” so far…one the day before Thanksgiving and one about 3 weeks ago. Continue reading