What a world of difference a week makes! Barely more than a week ago, we were contending with perhaps the parting onslaught of winter, snow amounts we haven’t seen in a long time; we were cold and wet and muddy, feeding animals that were less than comfortable and covered in a glaze of ice and glistening icicles. We were bracing for the aftermath, hoping and praying the toll on the little calves wouldn’t be too high. The wind howled, snow fell from a heavy sky and swept skyward again in the gusts. Eyes were blinded by the unbroken sheen of windswept white. We staggered around, floundering through drifts to do chores and feed animals, then tumbling inside to warm up chilled hands and toes and face.
This week, it is a whole different world. A hopeful one. Almost overnight, the first frost of green touched the hills, the first green we have seen in months and months of staring at dismally dry pastures in a parched part of the country. Every day the green is deeper, richer, and more. Calves sprawl in the sunlight on warm ground, no longer fighting mud and snow, or race wildly around in a frenzy of fun. Their mamas graze contentedly on the fresh grass, no longer clamoring for hay to fill hungry bellies.
Dams that were dry now have water in them, and the sky is the blue that only comes in the springtime. The wind is gentle, the bite of winter a thing of the past. The bluebirds are back, and the clear, sweet voice of the meadowlark soars high above the rest of spring’s many songs. While we were checking cows, I heard a familiar and strange call, one of those sounds that goes straight to my heart, and searched the sky – Sandhill cranes were making their way north from the sandy dunes of Nebraska, in a shifting V of flight. And yesterday the killdeer were pantamiming along the driveway. Spring is here at last.
My garden is beginning to awaken, with the promise of color and delight and beauty. Lupine and catmint and lavender and chives, verbena and painted daisies and hollyhocks, yarrow and purple coneflowers, all are emerging eagerly from the warming earth and spreading joyful leaves. The green shoots are so good to see, and the thriving of things that survived the winter!
The line between inside and out is deliciously blurred, with windows thrown open, beckoning the spring into the house, sleeping with the wind stirring the curtain by my pillow. Evening jaunts down to lock up the chickens can be done without piling on coveralls and heavy coat, and the first sunburns of the year have marked the welcome change of the seasons. What a glorious free feeling, to have set aside heavy muckboots and heavy coats in favor of lighter, to be unencumbered, moving easily and unhindered!
What a difference from last week, or the week before. What a wonderful difference. It is a spring that is good for the soul.