Saturday, February 14, 2009

Spring is here, but it's not April yet (Winter Aconite)

Inexorable is a word with such a negative connotation that it seems odd to associate it with the approach of spring,'s the right word. The forces that shoulder winter aside, once in motion are too powerful to be stopped. Our average high temperature on this day, Valentine's Day, is 46F our average low 29F. They are up 3 degrees total (1 on the low end and 2 on the high end) since last week; by this time next week they will be 48 and 31 respectively. There is no doubt that we are climbing the curve.

This week was a balmy interlude on the path to April with highs in the 50s, 60s, and 70s! and no freezing nights. Shrubs and small trees are flowering everywhere, all the Hamamelis, the early Cornus, Prunus mume, Jasminum nudiflorum (full bloom), I give up; there are too many to list. Bulbs too: Snowdrops, early Crocus species, Winter Aconite all flowering. The days are longer than they were at the nadir of the year: by 90 minutes and we are adding 2 or three minutes every day. The sun is moving higher in the sky, its rays striking the earth with greater effect than the feeble glancing blows it attempted at the Solstice. Birds are singing now: Carolina wrens, Titmice, Cardinals. Downy woodpeckers are drumming, a part of their mating ritual...and yet.

And yet, in every conversation I overhear, one curmudgeon, in an attempt to douse the spirits of the optimists, grumbles that, "we haven't seen the last of winter." But we have you know. Winter is over. It may snow.....a of our best/worst? blizzards was on Washington's birthday, and it will get cold but those things are a part of spring now, not winter.

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