Friday, April 4, 2008

Ah, Spring!

I thought this picture was kind of neat. For those who are not local, I will try to create an appropriate visual image. We live in a very flat area. Very flat. Oh, did I mention it's kinda flat here? We also have lots of clay in the soil and a pretty high water table.

One of the survival techniques locals have developed is to incorporate low spots strategically around their properties so that during wet times, the water has someplace convenient to gather until it can seep into the ground.

And at this time of year there is also the fact that the ground is still frozen. The snow melts rapidly, but the ensuing water has nowhere to go.

So we have these low spots around the yard to collect the water. But these low spots also serve to catch blowing snow all winter long. The areas to which the water is flowing and in which the water is trying to collect are the last areas to melt because they also have the deepest drifts. So each year at this time we get some interesting designs in the snow.

I thought this year it looked like the bottom end of a glacier with the melting snow flowing from beneath it. I am not very technologically skilled, but I thought it would look cool if I could doctor the photo to have that slightly greenish cast glaciers have. But instead it just looked like a creme de menthe snowcone. Yuck!

Continuing on with more springly thoughts.
Like an army defeated
The snow hath retreated,
And now doth fare ill
On top of bare hill;
The ploughboy is whooping-anon-anon-
There's joy in the mountains;
There's life in the fountains;
Small clouds are sailing,
Blue sky prevailing;
The rain is over and gone!
These words are from a poem called "Written in March" by William Wordsworth. Yes, I know it is already April, but the poem expressed how I am feeling now. A week ago, when it was indeed March, it still felt like winter.

Joe and I took a walk today. Outside. Although it was a wonderfully warm 58 degrees, there was a gusty wind out of the WNW. We hunkered down and walked anyway. We went a half mile north and then another half mile west so that we could have the wind behind us later. The east-west road is minimum maintenance, so it is a dirt road that does not get plowed out in the winter. The areas that drift more deeply when the winter snows blow, are still melting, but there was grass at the sides and some in the center also which was dry enough to walk on.

I took a walk on this road two times earlier this year. I think it was late January or early February. Just after one of our extended below zero stints. If I remember correctly, that day was in the teens, so at that time of year it felt just heavenly to be out an about. Of course, then I was walking through and on drifts. In some places the snow was frozen and hard and I could skim across the top. In other spots I had to step out of snow each step, anywhere from just a few inches deep to knee high.

Joe came with me the second day I walked there. On that second day, as I was putting my foot down after one step, I went down into snow up to my hips. With just the one foot. It was quite startling, as you can imagine. After climbing out, we saw that I had stepped into a large gopher hole. We thought it somewhat ironic that with all the snow-covered stretch of road to walk on, I happened to find the hole. After seeing the same road today, with most of the snow melted, it is amazing I stepped in only one gopher hole. There is a crater every few steps waiting to swallow up the unwary.

After returning from our walk, we meandered throughout our yard, viewing the effects of a long winter and anticipating the time when we will start to see signs of new life. Lots of garbage where the snow has melted, broken branches in the bushes, gravel and asphalt left behind from the snow pushed off the church parking lot. These are not the things I long to see. Not do I enjoy seeing all the jobs that I did not get finished in the fall.

But the buds on the bushes signaling the leaves that will soon burst forth. Yes! and at last, what I am seeking, the first shoots of tulip poking up from the battle weary ground. This is what I love about spring!
I found the tulips in the in the bed nearest the house. Not only is this bed on the south side of the house, it also is sheltered on the west by the front porch. So each spring when I begin these annual expeditions, I always save this bed for last. The green shoots I finally find are that favorite piece of candy, saved for last, waited for and dreamed about.

I should also point out that tomorrow night we are supposed to get up to 8 inches of new snow. But it will be clean and white instead of gray. And better yet, it will not stick around long.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Or this poem:
Spring has come,
The grass is brown,
Various Cat droppings
Are scattered around