Something innate, instinctive, some primitive part of our brain tells us that winter can't last forever, and the makings of its demise are already in motion. Perhaps, risking blasphemy, we are all Pagans at heart, emerging to worship the returning sun.
When I was eighteen, I wouldn't have noticed the subtle changes, would not have sensed the slight shifts. I hadn't learned to observe, to tune into the little notices that nature was posting all around my world. It took a rare sixty degree in February day to pretty much hit me over the head before I sensed that there was change on the horizon.
But, thirty plus years later, I'm discovering some glorious gifts that have come with age. One of which is how much more easily I recognize what that primitive part of my brain is telling me. Glorious, indeed, to pick up on the approach of spring, to grasp tiny cues that give hope to my winter-weary heart.
Things like feral cats-- rather than hiding somewhere protected from the weather, in February come out and curl up in the sunshine.
For the last week, the birds have been singing spring songs in the mornings.
The alder trees have pushed out their catkins, and I saw a newly emerging skunk cabbage in a swampy area along the community trail.
Tree buds have begun to swell, and the tops of maple trees are tinged pink with new growth.
And standing on the back porch, looking out over Rough Run hollow illuminated by a waxing moon, I shiver, but remain, knowing it's far too early to hope for spring peepers, but it's enough tonight to hear the sound of the creek rushing through the valley below. To know that the ice can no longer contain the late winter song of open water.
All things that in my youth would have gone unnoticed, unheralded, and unappreciated. But, now? Well, here I am, blabbing to you, hoping that you'll start to take stock, or even think of something you noticed recently that whispered in a shout, "Spring is coming! Have you noticed!"
Pink tops of maples where new growth has begun.
Skunk cabbage emerging.