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winter or spring?

March 3, 2011

The calendar says there are only 2 1/2 weeks till the official start of spring.  Some days it seems like the early spring sunshine is successfully warming the world to ensure the calendar’s prediction will be met.  But other days, old man winter blusters back onto the scene, determined to scoffingly maintain his chilly hold.

Today was a prime example.  The sun was shining with all her might, but she had not yet managed to reach a high enough angle to really warm the earth.  Folks – and critters – coming out to enjoy the sunshine’s promise found themselves surprisingly chilled, and only those stubborn few with bullish personalities stayed out for more than a few minutes.  Boats and RVs and other summer playthings still huddled shivering under tarps and carport roofs.  So the outside world, despite blue skies and sunshine, seemed desolate and deserted, save for the odd determined soul.

Even the local over-wintering duck population, gathered at rare bits of open water in ice-covered creeks and wetlands, mostly huddled together along the shoreline, though a few hardy types made short forays out onto the water looking for breakfast.  Birdhouses sat silent and empty, and garden beds slept on under the barest skim of snow that the old season had deposited overnight, reminding us that officially he still rules a bit longer.  Yet ardent gardeners would not be deterred; behind windows overlooking the winter-clad garden beds, grow-lights shed their beams onto fresh seedlings eagerly awaiting their opportunity to be transplanted out into the fresh spring air and soil.

On  broad, desolate, brown-toned school playfields, giant snowballs sat scattered here and there, wrapped in dirty coats of dead grass and mud collected as their young creators rolled them about gathering up every speck of snow available.  Some, in random groupings, with long shadows stretching out as the low-angled sun peeked over their shoulders, gave the impression of some ancient snow-henge, abandoned artifacts left by long-gone sun-worshippers on wild, bleak open plateaus.

It looked as if old man winter’s hold would hang on forever.  But the early spring sun smiled overhead.  Her rays gently set themselves down on every surface as she made her journey across the pale heavens.  And as her warmth seeped in, winter’s fingers were imperceptibly loosing their grip.  It would not be long until the waterways were clear of ice, and the snow-henge monoliths had vanished away.


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