Sunday, March 20, 2011

Goose Bump

It's the first day of Spring. It arrives right about now although it wasn't my intention to catch the first euphoric moments of the new season. The ushering in of official spring has a right to its euphoric overtones whether recorded or not. We're ecstatic after the endless winter put to bed.

When you have nothing to measure your winter against you don't think much about it. But if you happen to catch the Weather Channel and your eyes pop at the readings in Texas or Florida - or even Rapid City for goodness sakes - you start to grow alarmed. Spring is everywhere. Is it forgetting us?

It came to a head last week watching video from out of our neighboring state of Wisconsin. When the green Capitol lawns at Madison were shown I realized I was about that same shade in envy. And this was before St. Patrick's Day when at least I could say I was doing my version of green for my Irish friends.

When even our sister state sports about without its winter mantle and preens in the green of the new season I say this is unfair, this is for us way too long.

Our immediate neighborhood must be the last holdout for snow. We alone seem to be left with snow cover. Our area got hit early (November 13), hard (a foot of snow in that first snowfall) and often. It didn't go anywhere but up, as in ever higher piles of white, and down, as in deeper drifts with every step.

The recent run of mild temperatures has mostly erased the snow pack in other parts of the city. Freeway embankments are bare and frankly unbeautiful. Last year's grasses are scraggly and beaten down from the previous weight of the snow.

Residential yards are free of snow too. The bare lots reveal all sorts of things. They're like the open pits at archeological digs. Rubbish and lost items are scattered as left - mittens, toys, sections of newspapers blown by the wind, covered up all these months.

Hard snow ridges persist at the curbs, particularly on shady streets where the sun can't penetrate. These were deposited by the city plows as they open the streets (our winter warriors - "we can get out, we can get through!") or made into roadside piles by our own driveway-clearing efforts. The dirty unlovely snow hillocks are vestiges of their staggering former intersection-view-blocking powers.

The houses on our block sit in a sea of white. There's not a thought that, below the snow, the cold soil we're anxious to reach with rake and trowel will any day soon bring forth crocus or daffodil.

The surface snow - the snow on top which warms in the sun's rays - is crusty and soft. I'm a pushover it suggests. I'll be gone soon. But underneath is another story. That snow layer is like glacial ice. It has no thought of evaporating away.

This is okay, perhaps. It may result in slower seepage into the ground and eventually into the local streams and rivers forecast to flood. Maybe we should regard our yards as having a role in the prevention of the rising waters. They are, so to speak, our thumb in the dike.

A pair of cardinals perched in the front yard tree, welcome notes of color to the gray Sunday start. They're our harbingers of spring along with other consistent signs. They give hope and reason to look around with interest and delight.

A car in front of us today stopped abruptly on the road. Fortunately we and the car ahead were able to brake in time. The reason for the sudden stop was soon apparent. A Canadian goose was being given the right of way as it zigzagged a course to the other side.

One hears of a speed bump. Al says this was a goose bump. Would have been - I counter. It'd have been a bumped goose - except for the alertness of the first driver.

Spring is here - cardinals, geese and yes, even the leftover piles of snow. It is good to move ahead into the season. Spring is stretch time. This year we'll throw in a sprint or two.

Ro Giencke - March 2011

No comments:

Post a Comment