Monday, March 16, 2009

Signs of Spring

It's a gloomy, dark Monday morning. I've already complained about not liking the earlier Daylight Savings Time. All I'll say is that it's been a week since the clocks moved forward and it's not any easier to get out of bed.

However, Spring is almost here. In fact, on Saturday, it will be the official first day of Spring. While I've enjoyed my first winter back in the Midwest after eight years, I am now looking forward to Spring. I went to my parents' house this weekend. They live out in the country and have a lovely big yard to walk around. The weather was mild enough that I got to take a few walks around it. Whereas a few weeks ago, the landscape was a bleached, muted sea of yellows and greys, there is definite signs of Spring creeping through.

I noticed that the grass is starting to subtly start to green up. It's hard to see unless you're looking for it but under the surface of dried winter-worn grass, there is a flash of green beginning to push through. Soon enough the lawn will be a fresh new green but its happening so covertly it's hard to notice unless you're looking for it.

The flower beds are starting to renew themselves too. Green shoots of daffodils are pushing up through the dirt, getting ready to bloom just in time for Easter. Crocuses and hyacinths are also getting ready to add their purples, whites and oranges to the sea of yellow daffodils. I love daffodils, their happy yellows a promise that warm days lies ahead. Soon the garden will be completely alive. I especially love my parent's garden in spring and summer. There's always something to eat. My absolute favourite is picking tomatoes from the garden and eating them when they're still warm from the sun. They always taste so much better than the ones you buy at supermarkets.

The birds are starting to build their nests. I watched one intrepid sparrow fly to the same spot at least eight times, a different piece of construction material for her nest in his mouth each time. It's nice to see them build their nests somewhere safe from the brutal wind. Too often I've come across nests that have been victims of strong gusty windstorms and the eggs lie broken on the ground.

I also almost got divebombed by some sparrows yesterday. My parents have this little shed in which they store their flowerpots and statuary during the winter. One year, we went in there only to discover the corpses of at least 12 sparrows. It was a little eerie. This year, I went in there to see what type of pots my parents had and discovered several sparrows frantically trapped in there. They seemed a little giddy from panic and thus, they flew at my head. It was, naturally, rather alarming. They didn't seem to know what to do to free themselves. The poor things kept throwing themselves at the same window, the 'clunk' as their heads hit the glass quite heartbreaking. I finally tried to herd them towards the open door and after one last kamikaze mission to fly into the window, two of the three birds found the open door.

That left one sparrow. This one seemed to have flown into the window one too many times or it wasn't that bright to begin with. It didn't want to leave. I felt bad for it, knowing that the safety of the shed was probably quite comforting to a little tiny bewildered creature but I also knew that if it didn't get out, it would die. I spent ages trying to herd that bird out. Finally, when I had my back turned, I think it found the open door. I didn't actually see it leave but I couldn't hear its thin, reedy chirp anymore and I think that means it had been freed. The thing is, we don't even know how the birds got in there in the first place. I've resolved to check that shed every time I'm home, just in case more birds get trapped.

It was nice to be able to walk outside. It's very muddy at the moment, boglike in some places but being able to survey the garden and not be freezing while you're doing it is a treat. I know we can still have some more winter weather; around here the danger of frost doesn't pass until early may. Yet even if we do have snow, it won't stick around. Spring is on its way, there's no doubt about it. Even if it is still pitch black in the mornings, the days are getting longer, the nights just a little shorter. Once the daffodils bloom, Spring is here.

I'm looking forward to it.

Happy Monday.

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