Thursday, February 25, 2021

Spring is coming

Remember in the late fall, those first mornings of light frost on the ground? It feels chill-you-to-the-bone cold and wet outside. Time to line the windows with plastic wrap and hunker down for the season. Sorry, dog, just a short walkies today. Your face stings in the northerly wind. Your bare hands take turns holding the leash, one in a jacket pocket while the other one turns red from exposure to the icy air, then switch.

And now, in this last week of February, after an epoch of single digits on the thermometer out back (and some double digits, but all negative) and never-ending snow, the temperature cracks 30 and even creeps above freezing. The sun is out. Oh, glory! Spring is coming! You strip off the wool mittens, unveil your face from behind the Tom Baker scarf, and let your bare skin breathe in the refreshing air. The dog gets a full four blocks today. Steady on the ice patch of a sidewalk. Never mind that four months ago a day 20 degrees warmer felt like certain frostbite.

So it goes every year, I think. You face November's dropping temperatures with dread. Maybe you have holidays to brighten things up, but they'll only carry you so far past the winter solstice, i.e. early winter. Most of the season still lies ahead. The sun disappears forever, temperatures continue falling, your living room couch becomes a hoard of fleece blankets, and you know that old groundhog is going to see his shadow like he always does. And then one day, it's five o'clock and you notice sunlight still lingering on the horizon. Today, it might be 20 degrees colder than that first bitter wind promising winter was coming, but it is also 40 degrees warmer than it was two weeks ago. Sweet joy.

At this point, green thumbs start to itch, and the snow can't melt fast enough. There will still be temperature ups and downs. The weather will oscillate between hints of spring and reminders that it's still winter, getting our hopes up, and then trying our patience. 

I'll try to moderate my springtime dreaming, try to keep it real. Here are a few seedlings of hope in my head right now:

  • New trees! Apple and cherry, scheduled to arrive in early April. We're literally putting down roots at our new home -- and attempting to espalier. Expect future posts on this topic.
  • A more purposeful herb garden. I have some perennials (sage, oregano) in a bed out front, but I have my eye on a sunnier space along the fence in back, near the rain barrels. It will be a lush mix of more perennials (thyme, rosemary, parsley) and some annuals (cilantro, basil, chamomile) -- with cutesy identification markers.
  • The Big Restoration of Our Windows and Doors. You're right, this is not very moderate. It's huge. But there it is. Hopefully, future posts on this as well.

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