“Why is it dangerous to go out in the garden in spring”? asks a riddle I read a long time ago. “Because” the answer goes, “in spring the grass has blades, the flowers have pistils, the leaves shoot, the cowslips about and the bullrush is out”.
There are no cows or bulls rushing around here, nor are there cowslips or bullrushes that I know of – not that I would recognize these plants unless they came to me and introduced themselves. But the blades will soon be out, for it is, at long last, Spring!
I woke up last night to the sound of the first spring rain drumming on my roof. Spring rain – that sounds so sweet to my ears now.
I had a hint that spring was on its way when I opened the kitchen window yesterday and fresh air poured in, filled with the chirping of birds. This was not winter air, I told myself – winter air is icy cold and eerily silent. Nothing moves in winter, there is no rustling of leaves or the rippling in the pond and no creature finds anything to chirp about. If they are in the area at all, and not basking in the South, they would be fast asleep in hibernation.
It wasn’t the first birdsong of the season, though. A couple of weeks ago, R stepped out into a somewhat warmer day and heard a bird tweet somewhere.
“Hey, maybe it is already spring,” he said. “I just heard a bird”.
“Nonsense,” I said briskly. “Does that bird know the weather forecast at all? The temperature may be in the 50s today, but it is going to go back to 10F in two days. That’s more than twenty below freezing! Of course it’s not spring yet. That bird must be an insomniac!”
But there were other birds too that didn’t seem to know the weather forecast. Or perhaps they too suffered from insomnia. I woke up one night, around midnight, to the hooting of a barred owl. At first I thought it was a train, and only when it woke me up with its relentless hooting that I realized it was an owl. This is how it sounds like, and as you can see, it is somewhat like a train.
(Owl sound courtesy Owl Pages.)
And now the rain has started and all the snow has melted, and the signs of winter are disappearing one by one. It may be too soon to celebrate, for Winter, like the Ides of March, has come but not gone..tomorrow’s temperatures will slide back to 40, and it may likely snow too..
About these temperatures. Like a weight-lifter who starts lifting weights after a long illness, Mr. Sun finds it a terrible effort to push temperatures past 50 F. As soon as they touch the 50s, he collapses with a wheeze and they drop back into the 40s. Still, he is managing to keep them above freezing so far. Which is all I can hope for right now.