Winter’s Deathly Grip….

Winter’s deathly grip is loosening.  Spring is right around the corner. I could feel it in the cold this morning. It has been warmer…and wetter than usual…until this morning.  It was still thirty-nine degrees, plenty cold for a walk in the foothills of the Blue Ridge, but there was a different feel to it. A feeling that the rebirth I associate with spring might be on the horizon. It is a feeling of change.  The brightening in the mornings chasing my depression away.  I know that winter will attempt to hang on, as will my depression but I am hopeful.

In this part of the world, March snowstorms are not uncommon and the last frost date is April fifteenth. BUT IT JUST FEELS DIFFERENT!

As a retired high school baseball coach, my feelings of change may be tied to major league pitchers and catchers reporting to camp or the reports of high school and college scrimmages with their opening dates just around the corner. I remember a game finished in a heavy sleet and another with a wind chill so low that both pitchers combined to pitch a one-hitter. I do not miss games in late February and early March. No, winter will hold on if it can, despite what a groundhog saw or didn’t see.

There are other harbingers. Crocus and buttercups have pushed up toward the sun. Scott’s Broom is blooming yellow and the quince pink.  My many forsythia bushes are putting off green leaves and a few yellow blossoms telling me my spring allergies are just around the corner.  I welcome them along with the work to come to reclaim and maintain my backyard.

I saw gold and purple finches at my feeder, feasting on the thistle they find there. The main herald is my beautiful red-tailed hawk. Well, she is not mine, but it is the third or fourth year she has made her nest in a dead oak tree on the hill above us. I hear her mating call and know there is a male somewhere about. It won’t be long until they will be training their little “branch hoppers” to fly and hunt.  One of my harbingers I haven’t seen yet are the turkeys.  There was thirteen last year, I hope there is more this year.  I’ve seen where they have been but not them.  I’m sure I’ll see them soon.

If weather trends continue as in the years before, there will be plenty of great days for baseball practice, a round of golf or even wetting a hook in late February.  Flowers and plants will green out and bloom, then March will come in like a lion with strong and mostly cold winds.  I hope my fig tree will survive.  I’m sure there will be a chance of snow to come before winter loosens its deathly grip but there is something about this cold.  It’s different…and it is welcomed.

For years before her death, my grandmother would seem to waste away during the winter months.  Her spirits would begin to rise when the seed catalogs began to arrive. She would recover during the spring and bloom like the spring flowers.  I’ve reached the age…and I understand.  I hope I am able to bloom one more time.

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