Most years, winter is an ambivalent season in Virginia. It snows, but always melts, and often snows again. It freezes, but the thaw is never far off. This ain’t the far north, and winter’s icy grip is never all that firm. Some years, winter hardly happens– Juneuary is followed by Februly and Margust. Last year, fall rolled on into spring sometime around the middle of January; we had about 36 hours of proper winter weather. Conversely, I have experienced winters here that stayed warm until the beginning of March, then ended with three solid weeks of snow and sub-freezing temperatures. So one certainly hesitates to read too much into the oscillations of the thermometer, especially when trying to assess the turn of the season.
Last night, we had an overnight rain, and the morning was sparkling clear, sunny and warm. Was spring in the air? If not exactly that (after all, I am quite aware that we’re still only a week into February, and as I write this, New England is being buried under several feet of snow), then it at least feels like a new phase of winter. All around, I am noticing the very beginnings of buds beginning to pry apart, revealing intrepid new leaves, the brighter green of freshly grown vegetation. It’s still winter, no doubt, but today for the first time I’m feeling like we’re beginning to ’round the corner.’
These daffodils even have flower buds! When did that happen? How come I didn’t notice this until today?
And finally, for all those following along at home, Free Willy the rebel rooster is alive and well. I tossed him a handful of grain when I was down feeding the chickens this afternoon, which he seemed to appreciate. Indeed, a noble beast.