Officially, there's only one more day of winter. If you look at your calendar, today is the last day that snowflakes trump raindrops in the great card game of the equinoxes. However, old man winter appears to be going out with a snore, and if you were like me and went outdoors at all yesterday you'll agree.
I washed the car at 6:30 last night, when the shadows had grown longer, and the air was just warm enough to not warrant a jacket of any sort. Perfect car washing weather.
These past 4 weeks have really passed quite well--very warm, considering the previous eight weeks were hellaciously cold, with near record snowfall and a snow pack that approached 150% of normal capacity during that period. Compare that to the way these past four weeks have been and you'd figure spring had already come. Perhaps it had. Or perhaps old man winter is getting soft in his age on us young kids. I had a pair of new shoes, and didn't have to walk up hill both ways to school even one time through 4 foot snowdrifts this year. What the heck am I going to tell my kids when they have to do it?
I've been watching for signs of life these past few weeks. Good ol' Punxatatawny Phil (the Pennsylvanian groundhog who makes a yearly prediction of how quickly winter will end) saw his shadow on Feb 2nd, But I've been seeing Robins for about as long, and the green tops of the brave daffodils and hyacinths for about half that. Granted, the plants are in the protective warmth of the lee side of buildings, but whats up with the robins? I don't remember them coming so early last year.
I watched them fight the starlings for the leftover concord grapes on the vine in the back yard, and feast unchallenged on the mushy crab apples still clinging to the trees here at work. I've even seen several California quail out and about (though I understand they don't migrate, where do they go in the winter?), and on one occasion even got to sit and watch some of them call. In the most recent instance, and much to the delight of my 5 and 3 year old children, we watched a pair of them search the grass in the front yard for food. My two oldest kids thought the tiny birds with the feather hat and a loud voice were hilarious (and so they were). I can't wait to show them the little fuzzy brood the parents will soon be running along with in the next few weeks. They'll be sure to go nuts over that.
And so this morning, on the cusp of spring, spend a moment with me and remember this all -too-soon past winter. It's rich months started with the Christmas spirit in full riot, and is ending with the sultry whisper of new beginnings. And so the days are marching on...