Paradox

Snow on lilac blooms
Snowflakes on lilac buds

Melting on the green back of the sandbox

Sunshine shower

Birds chirping, snow falling

Springtime in New England

spring snow

My daughter wanted to set up the sandbox today.  She’s been asking to hang the birdhouses outside for a month now.  She and her older sister roller skated in the sand lining the edge of the road.  She finally gave up when it started snowing.  It’s springtime now, but the scene outside the window doesn’t look like it.

With an early release from school, I declared it a day to run around the backyard like nuts.  My three year-old was the only one with me.  I don’t waannnnnna go outside, said the eight year-old.  Can I have a snack first, asked the five year-old.  Belly full, she’s the one that hatched all those vernal equinox-inspired plans.  She has a very real sense of injustice.  When she awoke the first day of winter and saw no snow on the ground, she was pissed.  And now?  No Easter decorations up even though there’s snow on the ground?  What’s up, Mom?basket of snow

The snow today actually had my back, though.  The first flakes floated to the ground mere minutes after her latest protestation about an empty sandbox.  One good thing about a schizophrenic mood change on Mother Nature’s part.  And one that I should be able to appreciate given my latest post!

There really should be nothing bizarre about snow showers two days into spring, though.  Just because the calendar says it’s spring, doesn’t mean that we should wake up one morning to instantly green grass and gardens abloom.  Two days ago it was winter.  Two days ago snow was de rigeur.  The passing of seasons is a gradual progression.  Leave it to humans to expect instant results.  Leave it to us to restrict the moving of the days in tiny boxes on a calendar and expect the weather to follow suit.

It was bizarre, though, to hear the symphony of birds gearing up for spring as the snow fell.  They were a twitter with nest-building, bug-hunting, flit-flying from tree to tree.  They seemingly paid no mind to the fat, wet flakes flying around them.  Maybe I should take a page from their book – rejoicing in the expectation of spring, knowing it’s coming, instead of lamenting the fact that it’s not here yet.  There is beauty amidst the cold and dark.  And there is the promise of warmth and light at the other end of it.

Winter is Coming*

Remnants of Hurricane Sandy

I saw a man gathering kindling in his arms.  A backhoe sat idling nearby.  Was he collecting that much wood or was he planning on ramming trees to the ground for firewood?  And the logs that he had gathered, had they sat long enough on the forest floor to kindle a fire tomorrow when the snow comes?

I moved to the country just as the cold season started.  ‘Seasoning wood’ was a term somewhere on the horizon of my consciousness. It was not something I needed to understand or attend to.  Luckily the people we bought our house from left some logs stashed in the back of the garage, seasoned from last year’s growing season.

The image of that man hugging a bundle of logs close to his chest made me wonder.  Will those logs in the garage be enough if we lose power this weekend?  And what about the stack of logs in our backyard, sawed and split after Hurricane Sandy?  Will they watch in moldy moisture as we freeze when our seasoned wood runs out?

And then I wondered . . . what did people do before meteorology?  Did we actually have to pay attention to our surroundings and changing seasons and be prepared?  Were we ants to today’s grasshoppers?

I hear the calls for bread and milk.  For full gas tanks and new snow blowers.  I see the last-minute hustle of wood gathering.

I do not see the storm clouds yet.  I do not feel that raw damp that precedes snowfall.

If it weren’t for advanced radar, we might get caught unawares.

But were any true New Englanders ever caught unawares?  As much as their means would allow, the pantries were stocked, the log pile stacked, the hatches battened.

Modern life had made us soft; has made us forget how to pay attention to our surroundings and react accordingly.

We rely on the convenience store down the street for our jug of milk, the mindless flick of a thermostat for heat, the talking head on TV when to tell us to be alarmed.

Good old Yankee ingenuity and self-reliance never hurt anyone.  Maybe it should make a comeback.

 

* As should Game of Thrones, which I no doubt would be watching during this storm – if the power didn’t go out and the next season didn’t start after the season of winter is over!

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