Thursday, February 18, 2010

Hints of Spring

Lake Erie is pretty much frozen over, and all of Ohio is covered with snow. My own yard probably has a foot and a half to two feet of snow covering it. But, amazingly, there are hints of spring all around. Today, for the first time in forever, it's above 32 degrees (well, a little above) and the sun is shining. The days are getting longer. Sunset is now after 6 PM (better than 4:55 PM, which we saw around winter solstice!). And the birds are singing and returning.

One thing few people notice is that some of the bare tree twigs are turning color. And buds on certain trees and bushes are swelling (check out the silver maples). Lurking under the snow in Southern Ohio and Kentucky are crocuses just waiting for a few warm days to bloom. In one month I will celebrate the first day of spring--by my calendar that's March 17th, St. Patrick's Day (and I don't care if a blizzard is whistling down Euclid Avenue and the parade marchers are turning blue from the cold--it's still the first day of spring).

Some 31 years ago, when living in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky, I wrote the following poem about the early signs of spring. Here it is:

February’s Dream

the snow lies thick upon the earth
the groundhog saw his shadow
the nights are long and bitter cold

but I have watched closely
and have seen some signs:

the morning concert of chirping birds
tree twigs turned a shade of red
silver maples’ pregnant buds

I have felt the quickening
first hope in this hard winter

I look for the crocus
and remember the birth
of a love

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