Sunday, March 3, 2013

Winter's Long Fingers

Since last weekend, when I declared the end of Winter and welcomed the beginning of Spring, my faith has been tested.

Monday came chill, and the week unfolded colder and colder by degrees. Sleet tapped at our metal roof, and on the way to town, we saw bare tree branches dressed out in thin layers of ice. Lovely, true; but ever so cold, that damp kind of cold that is winter here in North Carolina.

Yesterday, meager clusters of snowflake fell to the wet ground. By afternoon, I was playing baseball with the boys in the yard, pitting the sunshine against a stiff breeze.

Today, seven days later, the temperature is hovering beneath freezing. And snow is in the forecast for Wednesday. And what will I do? Nothing in me, or the daffodils pushing through the ground, wishes to yield quarter to Old Man Winter. Lovely as his painted trees and delicately engraved flakes are, his time is coming to an end. What will I do? Find the good in a longer winter? Yes, I could do that. Forestall my eagerness for spring? I could try. Admit that I was too eager ... that I was wrong to welcome Spring? I could, but I won't. The birdsong won't allow for it.

I know what I'll do. I'll begin planning my garden. I'll take out the small, portable greenhouse and set it up indoors. I'll plant seeds in peat-pots. I'll mend the garden fence. I'll begin hauling the compost to the beds. I'll plant some hardy crop, and watch it grow--maybe broccoli, for once. Then, when Old Man Winter withdraws his long, cold fingers, I won't be caught unprepared.

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