HOW IS IT that I am always surprised when I see a season turn. Perhaps this is because—for me—it has taken such time to fully settle into the existing summer / fall / winter / spring; to accept and to embrace what nature is already insisting is. It happened to me as I walked from the sparkle of Christmas into the snows of January and on through the jumble that became our February. All the winter-long, the days arrived short but somehow lived long, and so I snuggled in, took a breath, and felt my heart slow to match to season’s quiet rhythm.
This required little effort, perhaps due to one simple fact. For despite vaccines and boosters and very conscientious masking, I emerged from the holidays with a second round of COVID. It threw me, I have to say, a diagnosis that was very clearly real and yet utterly impossible to imagine. My symptoms were mild, praise be, but weeks did drag as we put our lives on hold and waited for Test Result #1 (negative) and then Test Result #2 (positive, but several days delayed due to the overwhelm of processing). It was as if this marking time served to slow the spin of the earth. We had but one option, my husband and I, and that was to wait.
Wait and see.
And so that’s what we did.
THESE PAST COUPLE OF DAYS we have spent time outside, where the late-day sun serves to warm me through and through. I watch as Papa Blue gathers straw, then time and again slips in, then out, claiming the bluebird box and laying the foundation for his beloved’s early nest. I pull at withered leaves hanging tired and shabby from our winter window box. I tilt my chin to the sky where contrails criss and cross and soft spring blue masks the wild blue yonder. It is March—early yet, but March all the same—and the month’s promise is, well, promising.
I find this all a bit shocking, as I said, this coming of new, this turning from winter. Nevertheless I believe I shall finish this post, grab my hat, and park myself outside where our aged oaks stand, their long branches stretching as they teem with tickling buds. I shall take a book—which one, which one?—and I shall settle, then open the cover, and I shall look at the first sentence and smile. And then a bumblebee shall pass, and I shall catch sight, and I shall watch as it bumps and bumbles and buzzes about. Then up! I’ll look up. And there will be the squirrel at the tippy top, and he’ll be set to jump. No! I’ll say. It’s too far! And still he’ll go, and then he’ll land, and a new branch will sway and he’ll scamper away.
(And then I shall hear the squirrel giggle, the little skimmer.)
And the buds. All the buds! There will be shoots and buds on every branch, in every bush, ever, ever have I seen so many buds?
It is March! Sure enough, March. Hello there, March.