As I walked this morning without having to dodge the last remnants of ice that clung to the edges of yards and on shaded parts of the walking path, I couldn’t help but notice the earliest signs of spring despite the grey skies produced by significant cloud cover and intermittent mist.
The greening of Flat Rock Creek has begun as the green blades in the field outnumber the brown by a slim but noticeable margin. The trees along the creek are still brown and leafless, permitting some final peeks at the frieze of gnarled tree roots running the length of the banks, fully exposed by erosion. One large tree dropped right onto the creek floor late last fall during a storm, yanking a chunk of bank with it.
Without tree leaves to buffer the sound, the varied and continuous chirping of birds sounds like entire flocks have descended and are welcoming each other back after a long absence.
More signs of life: dark brown and grey buds protrude at the tips of all tree branches. The creek water gurgles with the water of recent showers. A squirrel scurries across the footbridge in front of me and makes its flying leap off of the bridge to the nearest tree. Robins dart about the path on the other side of the bridge, busily carting off tiny twigs and seeds. Cawing crows swoop down on worms or twigs they mistook for worms or better prey.
Small huddles of crocus tendrils fulfill the symmetry of corner gardens and in the most beautiful garden in my neighborhood, tiny sprouts give faintest hint of the fragrant bower to come. I keep thinking: just one month from today and more green will be evident. Just one more month.
On the few warmish days so far (high 40s), people began to spill out of doors. The neighborhood has come to life as if a giant game of freeze tag just ended, with people greeting each other like long lost relatives, anxious for company after the forced hibernation of a grueling winter.
As pre-spring hovers and these early signs stir much anticipation, I take a moment to breathe, just breathe.