Friday, March 07, 2008

The beginning of spring around here...

... is generally a 'two steps forward, one step back' sort of affair. This week was a steps forward week, on the whole. I saw the first wood violet in bloom in the lawn. Just one. The bird song is different, louder, more populated. The tree in the neighbor's back yard is in bud. The apple tree out back here is in what I call pre-bud. You can't quite classify the changes as buds yet, and sometimes you can't quite be sure you're seeing changes, but my spring hungry heart grasps at every swelling and texture change that might turn into a bud, and sometimes is rewarded with something approaching certainty. Today, to my astonishment, I found a live caterpillar in the lawn, under the barren, dead-looking plum trees. I picked it up and it curled into as tight a curl as it could manage. I carried it inside to prove its existence, before carrying it carefully back to where I'd found it.

The grass is greening up in places, and growing, not gangbusters, but growing. The air is taking on new smells. We're not to full spring yet, by any means, but we've been handed the early signs.

A pair of Canada geese flying overhead cracked me up with their honks. I don't know what they were trying to tell each other, but no two honks seemed the same, and they kept up a constant back and forth the whole time I could keep tabs on them. It definitely seemed to be a conversation, and if you'd told me that the gander was protesting that he wasn't lost, I'm not sure but that I'd be willing to believe it. Their flight was straight and strong, though, gobbling up the miles.

It's supposed to rain tonight, and then drop below freezing. How anything survives weather like this beats me, but spring after spring, new life gets tossed into conditions like this. Calves. Colts. Seedlings. The first soft leaves of perennials taking another go at it. The first flowers of the year, which have a tendency to look more fragile than summer flowers. Go figure.

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