A miracle finally happened in Minnesota. Spring arrived. I can’t focus. I spent time in the dirt yesterday. I scoped out my tulips, crocuses (crocii?) and daffodils, uncovered, after a long winter’s rest. It’s a week of endings and beginnings for me and as much as I think I should write or at least should want to write, I don’t. I want dirt under my nails, mud on my boots, stray leaves and grass in my hair. I want to stand up, straightening sore knees and legs after laboring over a plot of soil. I want to smell when the rain is coming and admire, once again, the hardiness and resilience of nature.
A Northern Flicker captured my attention for the good part of an hour on Saturday. They’re the only woodpecker that walks along the ground to find food, hopping back and forth between ground and surrounding trees. Rabbits graze in the yard, delighted by the salad bar now revealed. Gnawed bushes and shrubs show evidence that they did what they needed to do to survive the deep snows.
Black-capped chickadees are flitting in and out of the dried grape vines and robins are hopping about, gathering up their body weight in grass for nests in progress. Mallards are squawking loudly when neighborhood cats are in the proximity. The ducks have picked a nesting site near the drainage creek that has formed at the bottom of the yard.
It’s been too long. It’s taken us a few days to catch on that winter is gone. Pale and mole-like, people come outside, shading their eyes against the brilliant sunlight. We see neighbors that we haven’t seen in months. Everyone is a little pudgier. The melted snow has left vestiges of salt and sand everywhere. Children wobble haphazardly on bikes – a momentary lapse in memory. An old man roars by on a motorcycle, a declaration of resilience. He made it through another winter.
People have thrown themselves into a flurry of activity – yard work, roof fixing, car washing. They’ve spent months using their labor capital for shoveling and making vehicles run, walking recalcitrant dogs, who lifted paws in protestation of the bitter cold. The pent up energy needs to run its course before hammocks and lemonade and a need for shade.
I am taking the week off to take it all in. I can hardly make myself sit still or be in front of the computer. My winter-addled mind drags me out into the sunshine, unable to stay inside one minute longer. Spinach and green bean seeds to sow, patches of garden to till, soil samples to send…this is the world I dreamed of in January, while flipping morosely through my seed catalog. It’s finally here and I’m going outside to reacquaint myself with the light. Keep well, my friends.