The raucous music of birds foraging at the feeder beneath my window wakes me just after sunrise. The metallic click of Dark-eyed Juncos, the buzzing trill of the Carolina Chickadee, the clear bell-like chime of the Song Sparrow. Local residents, the migrants having not yet returned from their long winter vacations to Mexico and Brazil, boasting of their travels and flashing their gaudy breeding plumage. Frost still coats the windows, a crust of ice covers the dog’s water dish; Spring is still 3 weeks away by the calendar. But the signs are there.
If Old Man Winter is cold gray death, then Spring is a warm and ruddy babbling baby, jubilant with life. Spring is an impertinent Dennis the Menace to Mr. Wilson’s Old Man Winter. Spring thumbs its nose at winter and says, “We’ve had enough of you, go way!” Undaunted by the frosty overnight temps, the long-dormant bulbs of Crocus and Narcissus push tender young green shoots up from below, soon to burst forth in a display of yellow and white blooms. The dogwood and redbud blooms won’t be far behind, and soon those rapidly-spreading invasive Bradford pears will splash a shower of white blooms across suburban landscapes.
Today promises one of those 40-degree temperature swing days we sometimes see toward the end of the seasons. Ice in the morning, sunburn in the afternoon. The bipolar nature of a season nearing the end of its life. The sun is doing its part to bring about the death of winter and the birth of spring. Sticking around longer each day.
Old Man Winter, you have 3 weeks left. Do your worst. You won’t break me.