Friday, February 19, 2010

Spring Will Arrive

This one went to the paper today. I wrote it this morning. I am liking my new computer. I named her. But that is another story.
Spring Will Arrive

It was February second. With bated breath I awaited the annual appearance of the groundhog. Up here on the northern tier, winter has us locked in its unrelenting icy grip since Thanksgiving. The groundhog may say yes. The groundhog may say no. Spring arrives on its own schedule. Besides, how can a subterranean rodent affect the turning of the seasons? But I grew up on fairy tales. At first light, I chortled and said, no shadow. Spring is on the way. And sure enough, the calendar justified my exuberance with uppercase letters, SPRING BEGINS on March twentieth. I checked the information on two calendars just to make sure. Right.

Then Monday night my friend Kathy from British Columbia called to chat. “The daffodils are in bud,” she said.

“The snow banks are receding,” I responded.

“This morning Richard and I drank coffee sitting in the sun on the patio, breathing in the smells of new leaves and lilacs.”

“The ice in the river is beginning to break up.”

“Today I am planting primroses along the walkways.”

“What are primroses?” I counter. My forty-third garden catalog from the various nurseries back east just arrived with offerings of exotic plants guaranteed to die in this northern semi-desert zone. “I shall plant petunias and geraniums when the frost leaves the soil.”

“It is supposed to rain tomorrow. That will be good for my bulbs,” Kathy said.

“It is 20 degrees here with wind gusting to 30 miles per hour. Tomorrow will be sunny and temperatures in the 50’s. Snow is forecast for Wednesday. That doesn’t mean it will happen that way, but it might. Right now the county roads are slick with mud but usually they freeze up at night. A few more days of wind and the roads will look like tracks carved in baked clay.”

“Do you ever have spring?” Kathy asked.

“We often get a week in May,” I answered rather hesitantly. “Or June. Then summer arrives with temperatures in the 90’s and clouds of the famous Harlem mosquitoes.”

Yesterday a friend remarked that this is the most dreary time of the year. I refuted that. The fields are beautiful with sunshine illuminating the various shades of gold, browns, tans, heathery purples. If you squint your eyes just so, you can detect the green beneath the brown. The leaf buds hang on the ends of tree branches, just waiting for the right signal to shoot forth. And when I rake into the flower debris from last fall, I see new life burgeoning forth from the soil. There is hope. Little gophers line both sides of the highway. Huge flocks of geese heading north alight in the stubble fields for the night, as if the stubble is a special campground just for them. Oh, yes. Today is Wednesday. It is snowing.

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