There were a few days last week when we flirted with spring. Squirrels and chipmunks frolicked in the yard, birds were singing, and we actually went outside without mittens once or twice. Then, mercurial as always, spring disappeared and we found ourselves back in deep cold with wind gusts between 30-40 mph. A month ago this might have been enough to send us scurrying to the couch in front of the fireplace to hide under fleecy blankets and read books, but we just couldn’t take it anymore, and so outside we went.
We trekked over to a local Wildlife Refuge. It was rough going at first; even bundled up, cold winds whipped over the open field at the start of the trail and brought tears to our eyes. The Mancub caught a crow feather blowing down the trail, and used it to draw designs in the frozen crust of snow. He carried that feather the entire hike, clutching it tightly with his mittened hands. There were crows calling in the woods; perhaps one of them was the feather’s previous owner. We pushed past the wind and into the trees, where a little bit of shelter made a lot of difference. We trundled along for a while, accompanied by chickadees and some birds I didn’t know, until we found a beaver pond. Just before we turned around, a flock of Cedar Waxwings descended on a tangle of bushes to the side of the trail, a hopeful sign of warmer times to come. March 19, 2015