The other day, at my afternoon client's house, I was following the dog's path through the snow, laden with a bucket of sunflower seeds and the pole to latch the bird feeders for filling. Dodging Skye(the dog's name) bombs, planted haphazardly along the way, trying to keep from sinking into the soft snow on the sides , my head was down, I was concentrating on my progress. I reached the post the feeders hang from, set down my bucket, lifted the feeders down and filled them. Snow had been forecast for the next couple days and I wanted to make sure the "critters" had sustenance for the duration.
The chickadees sat in the branches of nearby pines, chirping their thanks and impatience at my fumbling attempts to rehang the filled feeders-or maybe they were laughing....I'm sure the squirrels weren't too far off and snickering, knowing that all the seeds that spilled out onto the ground were "Theirs"!
I picked up the pole and empty bucket and turned to follow the path back to the garage, when I spotted just the tiniest spot of green. Off to the left several feet from the path, a lone stem of a vinca vine-a (hearty)hardy perennial that flowers in the spring and then spreads as a ground cover the rest of the summer.
One stem, with maybe 5 leaves. Green, ready for the sun, green! Not the dusky dark green of a plant that has been buried under the snow all winter, frozen, bared by the latest thaw. But truly Green! The first sign I've seen that this long, cold, dark night of winter will truly soon be over. Just spring's little whisper that soon she will reappear.
I'm sure it must have snuck past Ole Man Winter's guard. He must have been garnering his strength for the storm to come over the next couple of days. Saving his breath to blow the cold snowflakes around to accumulate hither and yon, asserting his dominance over the landscape once again. He knows his days are numbered.
My eyes, having spyed that glimpse of change, began to search carefully for other subtle signs. I went back into the garage to refill the seeds for the feeders in front of the house, and I noticed the snow cover's edge receding ever so slightly away from the sidewall. I know that under it all the oregano is waiting patiently to begin it's climb out of dormancy to fragrant short bushes with delicate lavendar flowers and pungent leaves, perfect for that pasta sauce. In fact, there by the doorframe is a dry stem from last year with seeds just waiting to be shed and sprout into new plants to join the patch.
Following another dog track into the front yard to access the feeders there, I passed by the bare branches of the lilacs. Ah, but wait, they appear a bit heavier than usual. And there they are, the tiny buds at the end of the branches are beginning to swell just a bit. They're a long way from opening into the heartshaped leaves that form the umbrella of the lilac's shape, but it's time for them to start the process.
So, Ole Man, bring on that latest snowstorm, do your best. Spring has begun to prepare for her bursts of buds and greens that brighten from the palest tint of tiny leaves just beginning to open, splashing her colors about with abandon. The sun will join her growing brighter and warmer every day for just a few more minutes, equal in light and dark, just 4 short weeks from today!
Tonight, I sit here and think about the blustery conditions I drove through today, in wonder at the sunshine that increased the brightness of those snowflakes, sacrificing themselves on my windshield-that's lake effect snow for you-blizzards and blue skies at the same time. I shiver as the winds make the house groan ever so slightly, knowing that the wheel of the year turns so slowly, yet does continue-as in years past and will for years to come.
~Thanks For Stopping By~