Wow, spring is trying to be here! A dandelion can be found here and there blooming along with snowdrops and crocus on the lawn. Yesterday I was awed to discover speedwell speeding us into spring on the lawn of the park where I took the children.
February, the last full month of winter, can sometimes give us what December forgot. It hardly ever snows for southeastern Ohio before Christmas, so to me it doesn’t really seem like winter until January.
Then comes February which sometimes brings us the most wintry days of all. Yet, we have passed the winter solstice so the days are getting longer and sunlight lingers with us later every evening. In February, even if nature sometimes dresses herself in frozen crystals of ice and snow, a breath of change is stirring.
This breath of change is found hiding in the dark recesses of the chicken’s nests, where brown oval treasures begin to appear. It can be seen above our heads where the maple trees press maroon buds against the deep blue of the skies and it can be heard in the sap that flows in the veins of these same trees. (If you hold a stethoscope up to a maple’s heart on a warm day in February, like listening to the sea in a shell, you can hear the sap flowing.) Syrup harvest will begin soon, if it has not already.
This breath of change is found beneath our boots in the faces of Snow Drop flowers bearing buds that mirror and mock the snow. It is smelled in the scent of skunks that totter across the fields, drunk on love. It is in the bees that make cleansing flights on the warmest afternoons and are busy raising brood in their self, warmed hives.
This breath is heard at dawn in the trill of the screech owl as he serenades his engaged and it is seen in the kitten-like fuzz that erupts on the pussy willow sprouts.
February, so busy with all these inner changes, can be very moody. She delights us with days that seem like sunlit spring then she clams up and turns us a cold shoulder sending shivers up our spines. Often I go to our gardens on mornings, after these cold snaps, to witness crocus flowers that dared to bloom when February smiled the day before. These bold blossoms can get caught in one of the fickle month’s crying spells and become enclosed in a cloak of ice.