Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Springtime arrives

The weekend was mild and sunny, but yesterday was even better than that: warm and truly spring-like. The very last pile of snow finally disappeared from our yard. I went running in a t-shirt and tights: two layers fewer than I’ve worn for the five preceding months.

My aunt sent us a floral arrangement late last week as a housewarming present, and the flowers are filling the kitchen with perfume. I placed them on the table near the deck and opened the glass door to let the fresh air flow in through the screen. Even though I knew the flower scent was coming from the bouquet indoors and not from anything blooming outdoors, it made me think the ground was softening and shoots might soon appear; maybe flowers too. We don’t know, since this yard is new to us, what might be planted in the mulch beds around the house, but maybe the scent of outdoor blossoms will soon grace our yard.

The grass covers the ground only very thinly, and much of it is still straw-colored, but the smell of fresh dirt in the air makes me think we’ll soon find fresh green grass growing. I can still see far into the woods surrounding our house; the oaks are bare and even the evergreens seem scraggly, but the warm air reminds me that the leaves, like the grass, will soon enough be thick and green. The walk we did through the woods Sunday gave us the chance to orient ourselves on these trails, all new to us, a little bit, and it was easier to navigate our way with the leafless trees offering such long sight lines. By the time large floppy oak leaves obscure much of the view through the forest, we hope we’ll know the trails well enough to find out way without the extra visibility that the current starkness provides. Of course, when the leaves reach their thickest point, it will also be time for the mosquitoes to hatch, and we’ll probably avoid the woods until the days grow hotter and the yearly mosquito infestation subsides.

With the four feet of snow that covered the ground for much of this winter, spring was slow to arrive. But this weekend it came back: to the ground, to the forests, to the swamps and ponds in the form of ducks and geese paddling along. I’m still feeding the cows three bales of hay from the barn every morning, but they mouth the ground as if they’re practicing for grazing season or maybe hoping that doing so will hurry the growing process along. In another month, they’ll be grazing, and the month after that we’ll be doing the first hay-cutting of the year. One cow will deliver a calf sometime this spring, for the calf’s sake we’ll hope for a string of warm dry days when that time comes, though plenty of times calves arrive during chilly and rainy stretches and still manage to thrive.

The evening sky stays light well after seven o’clock. The sun rises well before the kids are up for school. The year is turning: from a remarkably snowy winter into what is finally turning out to be a mild and gentle spring. Cold days may still come, but we’re glad to have the beautiful days with which this week began, and we look forward to grass, leaves, flowers, and all the blessings of spring that still lie ahead.

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