Yesterday morning began seriously cold. Three degrees below zero when I got up. A new low for the season. The snow underfoot creaked as I walked the few paces to the bird feeders and back—a sound that only happens when the temperature is in the minus range. I felt the sharp-edged cold the instant I stepped from the warm house. The birds were waiting for breakfast. Not having bothered putting on a jacket, gloves, toboggan, or any outdoor clothing other than exchanging my house slippers for rubber-bottomed moccasins, the cold penetrated my sweat pants and tee-shirt in an instant, first burning, then numbing my skin. I didn't tarry.
This morning t was 14˚F when I made the same hasty trek. (Nope, no better dressed; the older I get, the steeper the learning curve.) No snow creak, just a crunch of icy crust. Again, a breakfast of seeds and grain and suet speedily delivered…and just as speedily tucked into—I heard the descending flutter of multiple wings behind my back even as I lunged the dozen feet to the cottage door. It's always nice to know your sacrifices and services are appreciated.
The good news is that Sunday it's supposed to soar into the low-40s. The talking head on the TV said so. I'm even inclined to believe him…though not so gullible that I'd put money on his proclamation. I may be a fool about how I dress for my morning bird-feeding dash, but I'm not foolish enough that believe a weather prediction for two days hence. Two hours, maybe—but never two days.
Now, here's a confession…
I took a little drive yesterday. Checked out a couple of tangled old corners, a snowy field or two, a nearby woods. Just a brief, cursory reconnoiter of the local bailiwick with a few photo stops along the way—including one a few miles upstream, where the river in that particular section looks a bit smaller. As I said, the day was cold; still only in single digits. Yet even so—and here's the confession part—I felt or perhaps sensed a springishness to the air.
Yes, I know it doesn't make good sense. Maybe it was just a trick of the bright sunlight. Or my imagination. Possibly misplaced hope. Or just maybe, like the countless big sugar maples in yards of the old farmsteads I'd passed along the way, the sunny February morning had my own sap rising…a coursing in the veins that whispered visions of spring.