It is March 29th. The forecast yesterday was nothing short of dismal here in Pennsylvania — overcast and cold. In fact, as I sat here typing yesterday morning, I saw flurries floating in the air outside my window! I have given up wearing gloves in protest of winter’s unyielding grip on the landscape and now my hands are red and chapped. The kids have both been fighting a cold for the past 3 weeks that will not go away. We have gone through enough tissues that our family alone has likely been responsible for the demise of about 5 trees. Every day that I put on my winter coat it feels heavier than the day before and yet I’m still cold. The incessant damp and chilly air sometimes makes me feel like I will never be warm again, which is downright depressing.
Usually in the northeast, we have one uncharacteristically warm day in March. If you live here, you know what I mean. For one day, everyone strips off their coats and sweaters and heavy boots. We break out the tank tops and flip flops so that our skin can feel as much sun as is possible. We drive with our windows down and the radio turned up. If you hadn’t looked at the calendar that morning, you might actually think it was an early summer holiday the way we all carry on and rejoice over the simple gift of warmth and sunshine. The warmth doesn’t last but that one day is enough to raise our collective spirits, to see us through the last bit of winter until spring finally arrives.
This year we haven’t had that warm day and I have missed it. And so, I have find myself searching for signs of spring elsewhere. Olive and I went out in the yard searching for it on Friday night and we found hints of it everywhere. Buds on the trees, tulip leaves pushing up through the frozen ground, deer tracks, bird nests, all indicators that while the world around us seems frozen and stubbornly unchanging, nature has begun the slow and tedious process of rebirth.
For the time being, I have found spot in a southeast facing window, where the sun shines so bright that I almost need sunglasses. I can see flower buds on the rhododendron right outside the window and if I concentrate, I can tune out the sounds of video games behind me and hear the birds chirping. There won’t be any flip flops yet today but for now, this is enough.