Today, I left the house for the first time since Tuesday afternoon, when I took sick. That day, as I drove around Charlottesville, the radio weathermen repeatedly threw around the “S-word,” invoking two days of “springlike” weather on tap. And, although I wasn’t in the best condition to appreciate it, the weathermen delivered. For the next two days, I was vaguely aware of sun and warm breezes, open windows and neglected furnaces, culminating in a downpour on Thursday night that had a distinct “April showers” feel to it. By the time I was up and walking around, winter had declared an end to this tomfoolery and made clear that this was, after all, still the last week of January. This morning, I was feeling much recovered, and heartily tired of my self-imposed house arrest, needing to stretch my legs before they atrophied. So I went out in search of evidence of this “springlike weather” that paid a brief visit.
I wish I could say that I found some hint of spring in the air, that the buds on the trees had opened ever so slightly, that I could feel the earth awakening or some such portent, but the truth is, it’s pretty much just cold and raw and brown out there. Sunny and windy, the kind of day that lip balm companies love. Two warm days at the end of January does not equal a springtime thaw, and although I know that the turn of the seasons is inevitable, as of February first, winter clearly has the upper hand.
I noticed a lot of onion grass in the woods today. Has there always been this much around, and it just seems more prominent due to the lack of any other greenery? Or is it actively sprouting, an advance sign of the great wave of shrubbery to come? In the olden days, I’ve read, the onion grass sustained many a Virginia settler (and most likely the natives before them) during the winter when it was the only fresh edible available over the winter. I chewed on a handful, and while I certainly prefer a salad of fresh greenhouse-raised baby lettuce, I can see how it could brighten up a diet otherwise devoid of fresh food.