Late Winter, 2014

Late winter. The cold is still with us, and on my office window, there is a beautiful leaf made of frost, which glitters in the sun. The driveway is icy, and the path to the woodpile is icy. I wear my grippers when I am in the backyard, but nevertheless there is a fine sprinkle of wood ash on the path. I hate the mess, but it would be worse to fall and break something. So grumbling a bit to myself, I spread the ash.

Despite the cold, there are signs of spring. The days are getting longer. It is light until nearly 6:00 p.m. now. And the other day when I was taking a walk, I heard a bird’s high-pitched call coming from an apple tree. A tufted titmouse or a cardinal? A cardinal, I decided, and I scanned the apple tree for a flash of red and a trim silhouette. I found it, and I felt a moment of triumph. It was indeed a cardinal, calling to attract a mate. Yes, spring is coming. The birds know it, even if we humans feel as though we are still stuck in deep winter.

As we approach spring, here are some late winter pictures to remind us of the cold beauty of where we’ve been:

Bittersweet
Bittersweet
A cedar waxwing
A cedar waxwing
Milkweed seeds on the porch railing
Milkweed seeds on the porch railing
Feather in the snow
Feather in the snow
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4 thoughts on “Late Winter, 2014”

  1. As cold as it is (and we have just gotten off 2 full weeks of below freezing weather—not once over 32 even at mid-day), there is something cosmic, an energy that has returned to Maine. It makes the bird sing. How do they know, as cold as it has been, that mating time is approaching? Perhaps the length of the day triggers a response? I notice it now that the air is not silent as it has been for months. Something is stirring in our northern world. Winter can be lovely…but bring on the spring!

    Re: ashes on the walking paths, the driveway. Yes, I spread wood ash too and put more scatter rugs on my wooden floors to pick the ash up–and ask people to take their shoes off in the house–as I do myself. The idea of ash grinding little pit into my beautidful oak floors! Makes me shudder.

    1. Yes, Denis! Beautifully put. The lengthening day no doubt tells the birds that is time to mate. We, too, take off our shoes and wear slippers inside. And we have also been known to ask guests to take off their shoes when the driveway has been sprinkled with ash 😉

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