Monday, March 02, 2009
It is March. Let the optimism begin!
...Thoreau's Journal: 2-Mar-1859
As I go through Cassandra Ponds, I look round on the young oak woods still clad with rustling leaves as in winter, with a feeling as if it were their last rustle before the spring, but then I reflect how faraway still is the time when the new buds swelling will cause these leaves to fall. We thus commonly antedate the spring more than any other season, for we look forward to it with more longing. We talk about spring as at hand before the end of February, and yet it will be two good months, one sixth part of the whole year, before we can go a-maying. There may be a month of solid and uninterrupted winter yet, plenty of ice and good sleighing. We may not even see the bare ground, and hardly the water, and yet we sit down and warm our spirits annually with distant prospect of spring. As if a man were to warm his hands by stretching them toward the rising sun and rubbing them.
-From The Blog of Henry David Thoreau
When winter lasts nearly six months out of the year, one tends to greet any sign of the warmer half with gratitude. Whether it is the higher angle of the sun, the paired flight of ravens, or even just the date on the calendar, the distant prospect of spring does warm the soul.
This morning the thermometer read fifteen degrees below zero. I had to look at the calendar to make sure what day it was, as if the lightening eastern sky at 6 AM didn't tip me off. It is March. The month of thawing, freezing, and thawing some more. The month when, early one morning, the first pair of Canada geese will announce their arrival with raucous calls. The month of sandhill cranes, of red winged blackbirds, robins, juncos, hooded mergansers, and woodcock peenting at twilight. The month when one bright sunny day the temperature will rise to 50 degrees and Minnesotans will drop their daily business and head outdoors to bask in the promise of warmth.
These thoughts warmed me as much as the fire in the wood stove and the wool socks on my feet. Sure there will be more snow; it would not be March without it. There will be ice, and slush, and mud, and rain. But we're getting there. Our spirits are thawing with the rising sun.