March roared in this year. February ended on a beautiful Saturday—blue skies, sparkling snow, crystal icicles, a day that made me think that winter was over in spite of the mounds of snow. Sunday brought another storm– cold winds, more snow, another chance for hubby to push the snow blower up and down the driveway. On Monday, we had snow followed by freezing rain. There was only an inch or two of snow, but it had to be cleared. It was wet snow—slush—the consistency was like something adolescents buy at a convenience store and slurp on the way home. I shoveled the sidewalks and deck, wishing for warm weather. My husband chipped at the ice up on the roof. We had yet another small ice dam leak. I wondered how much more we could stand and dreamed of beaches.
The days have become warmer. Warm is a relative concept. Admittedly, if I lived in southern California still and it was 45 degrees, I would be complaining of the cold. Today the National Weather Service in Los Angeles has issued an alert—“Unseasonably hot weather for this weekend.” Bring on the warmth! I just got another heating oil delivery. But I shouldn’t complain. Yesterday it was warm enough at lunch that my grandson and I danced on the deck, singing a song we made up about dancing in the sunshine.
Signs of spring abound. Chipmunks chase each other over the snow in frantic courtship. Squirrels dart down from the trees and look for stashes of food. The snow has begun to melt. Grass is peeking out in the area above my septic tank. The snow has melted in the wetlands behind my house. Yesterday a mother deer and her daughter gazed on the green swamp shoots—barely moving when I step out on the deck to take their photo. They were still there when the dogs went out to attend to business. They are hungry and we do not seem to be a threat.
All winter a herd of deer traversed the green belt between the houses. I watched as they carefully stepped in the deep snow, stopping to strip bark from young trees. I wondered how they stayed warm on those frigid nights when the wind howled and the snow fell. I saw them frequently. They left tracks in my driveway and on the edge of my lot. I saw tracks of animals that I could not place: a rabbit? A raccoon? Other animals that I saw frequently in the fall and spring have not yet emerged. I haven’t seen the fox in a while. Did he succumb to the winter or is he denned up someplace snug? Soon the bears will venture out. Will there be cubs this year?
In the meantime, my grandson and I keep busy, building Duplo houses for penguins and crashing toy cars. We listen to Radio Disney and I try to teach him the “Cha-cha Slide.” We go outside and play in the now melting snow—until we get too cold or wet. Will he appreciate winter when he is an adult? Or will he move to California?
This winter was harder than the previous two. Instead of enjoying the quiet of winter, I went a bit stir crazy. I wanted to get out on the weekends with my husband yet it snowed every Sunday. I felt like I was constantly shoveling snow and sprinkling ice melt. The leaks irritated me. I loved how pristine the earth looked under a blanket of snow but I was tired of dealing with the snow. I longed to be on a beach in the sunshine.
This morning I attended a lecture on getting your garden ready for spring and choosing plants for areas in the shade. I walked out of the community room at the library into the brilliant sunshine, planning additions to my garden, eager to get started, only to contemplate the mounds of snow. Will spring ever be here? I’m eagerly awaiting May.