Birds are singing, spring peepers are peeping. It sounds as lovely as it is warm and inviting. But it feels “off” in ways that are hard to explain.
Spring arrived here at the beginning of March. At the beginning of the month daytime temperatures were similar to April, breaking into May-like weather by the second full week. In our area we’ve had the longest string of days over 70 degrees in March since records were kept. Tomorrow a high of 80 is predicted.
Nature has responded. The forsythia and magnolia are in full bloom, blossoms already dropping. Asparagus shoots are poking out of the ground, peas planted just a few days ago are emerging, and our garlic scapes are ankle high. Trees are budding and our beehives are buzzing.
I like spring as much as the next person. Well, okay, I’m a bit grumbly about weeding flower beds when it should still be the sort of weather that lets me take an invigorating walk in a brisk wind and come home to warm soup. Deep down, it doesn’t feel right.
Everyone I know is thrilled to be out enjoying the weather. That’s understandable. Wearing tank tops and shorts on St. Paddy’s Day seems like a miracle. But to me it’s downright off, like we’re welcoming the start of daylight at 2 a.m., glad that night has lifted though we’ve only gotten a few hours of sleep.
Winter is a time of dormancy. The stark months of snow-covered landscape invite contemplation and compel us to gather closer to the warmth of loved ones. It’s a necessary cycle for the fruit trees, migratory birds, burrowing insects, indeed most of life in northern regions. Here our honeybees have struggled to get through a wet, warm winter and our property is swamped with a full foot more rainfall than usual.
I’ll be planting lettuce and another row of peas today on the last bit of dry garden available, hoping that all the standing water dries up and the predicted thunderstorms don’t appear. It’s still March. I know there’s still a good chance we’ll have a hard frost, even a blizzard. But now I hope that spring stays. I’ve seen baby bunnies curled in nests under the big pine trees out front. The most tender among us believe in what spring has to offer. Our only choice is to believe right along with them.