Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Signs of Spring
Spring always seems to catch me by surprise. Suddenly trees are budding, flowers are blooming, grass is growing, our wood supply is dwindling down...it can’t be spring already? I think I'm surprised by it each year because I know how quickly it will be over.
In the Sierra Nevada foothills where I live, fall is short-lived, winter hurries by in a similar fashion, spring barely begins and then summer hits, too hot, too soon. And it's too hot, for too long - in my opinion of course. And the real reason, I must admit, to not being a fan of summer, is that not much rain, if any at all, falls from May to October. And with spring’s approach, that means fewer and fewer rainy days to look forward too. So I love and appreciate the rain each year, especially because I know it will be absent for a long stretch every summer.
Yet despite my protests, spring is definitely on its way! And it is always so beautiful when it arrives, so I really shouldn't complain.
What’s interesting during these transitions from one season to the next is that my home is about 2000 feet higher in elevation than where I work, and yet only 16 miles from one to the other! So though spring is just starting to emerge here at home, down the mountain the fruit orchards are covered in blossoms, the daffodils are nearly spent, the flowering quinces are a blaze of coral, and folks have already begun putting their vegetable seedlings into the ground. Where at my house, we might still have another snow storm come through, and the frost-free days won’t be here until May. So I get a bit of a tease, each time I head down that hill, a taste of spring, and yet also know that I can savor winter just a bit longer where I live, not rushing headlong towards summer quite yet. At least that’s how it feels.
This year we’ve had lots of rain, at least, much more than the past couple years, it’s still a little low for the year, but enough to gift us with the seasonal creek near our house. The sound of that gurgling brook makes my heart sing! How I’ve missed you! So this year the signs of spring are bigger and more lush than ever: the chickweed and miner’s lettuce are popping up everywhere: the daffodils are ready to burst; the robins are residing in the oaks once again; the slopes around my house are a soft velvety green; the poison oak’s little red tips remind us to pay attention to where we walk, doing its job to keep humans out while a piece of mother earth retreats and recovers; the pink manzanita flowers sway gently in the breeze like silent bells; the yarrow coats the ground in it’s soft fern-like embrace; and traces of snow,
cling to the shadowy corners, remind us that though spring is coming, winter is not quite done yet!
Enjoy the season!