This morning I sat in front of the fireplace in the living room; the two oldest dogs, with matching surgical scars on their right legs, lay at my feet. Outside the temperature was 24 degrees. The sky was overcast. The furnace was out again. Five days before the first day of spring we have fires in the fireplaces in an effort to keep the house warm while we waited for a repairperson.
Just last weekend the temperature was in the fifties. The dogs and I sat on the deck, sunning ourselves. I grilled steaks. I saw a few insects, tentatively flying around the yard. Birds sang in the trees. A flock of geese honked overhead. Monday morning, on my way to the veterinarian’s, I saw a large flock of turkeys in the yard of an old farm house. Tuesday wood frogs emerged during a torrential rain. I heard them barking in the woods beyond the house. My husband reported that hundreds of them were hopping across the road. On my run the next morning, I saw the bodies of those who did not survive the crossing. The poor little frogs froze, then thawed, emerged from the ground and died. The instinct that sent them across the road to look for ponds and mates was not enough to protect them from man. Perhaps the carnage was also a symbol. Perhaps the wood frogs had been croaking: “Too soon, too soon.”
Thursday I woke up to a dusting of snow. The snow didn’t last but the warmth of last weekend was gone. Last night I used the bar-b-que amid snow flurries. In November I would have been delighted with the wet snow that melted as soon as it touched the ground. Today, however, the flurry is not a sign that winter is beginning but a suggestion that winter is never going to end. In defiance of Mother Nature, I insisted on bar-b-quing anyway. Weather is not going to stop my spring from coming.
But five more days of winter stand in the way of spring. Yesterday’s high of 44 degrees was actually a few degrees colder than average. Last year was an anomaly. This year is more normal. As my friends in the Midwest brace for more snow in a few days, I check my supply of ice melt and gas for the generators. I may need to buy more firewood.
I try to force spring along. I buy placemats with pastel tulips for the kitchen table. I set my buffet with a Depression glass cake plate and candy dishes, adding pastel bunnies and birds. Bunnies go on the mantels. Bright flowers go in a vase. This doesn’t make the snow melt any faster. But it warms my soul.