It’s easy to be so distracted by the vestiges of winter that you fail to notice the subtle signs of spring. Sure it was 8 below zero last night and the ground is covered in ankle-deep snow and there is ice on driveways and sidewalks and, yeah, Jimmy the groundhog probably lies frozen to death in his burrow. And, true, I have not spotted any swollen tree buds beginning to unfurl their chlorophyllic flags or blades of green grass or purple crocus flowers. But I tell you spring is coming and not just because the calendar insists on it.
The days are longer. It’s was light this morning when I drove to my city job. On half the days it’s still light when I get home. I predict this trend will continue no matter what arbitrary things we do with our clocks. In a few weeks there will be more daylight than nightdark, which, if we tolerate the redundancy of daylight, really should be a word. Gone are the days when the sun’s rays illuminated, but could not warm, at least not perceptibly so. Yesterday, when I closed my eyes and turned my face skyward it was the sun’s warmth and not the 14-degree air that I felt on my skin. Already the midday sun, which barely peered over the tops of trees in January, is high in the sky forcing shadows into steady southward retreats.
I heard a cardinal sing. I didn’t understand the lyrics, kinda like when I listen to hip hop, but they were clearly celebratory and cardinals are not known for celebrating a persistent winter. Speaking of birds, egg production from our 22 hens has doubled, now approaching a dozen a day--icicles on the coop be damned. We had 13 eggs on consecutive days last week.
If none of that is cause for optimism, I remind you that the most productive growing season I ever had in my past life as an out-of-control vegetable gardener was after the worst winter I can remember before this one. Stay tuned.
Sorry for being that guy--that irksome optimist with seasonal unaffected disorder. It’s OK. By June the mosquitoes will be back and you will have forgotten how much I annoyed you.