March in New England

“…So how does this dialogue of green begin?”

-From “Looking for Spring” by Jean Connors

I have felt bound, boundaried, all winter. Now it’s late afternoon, late March–Skies have turned grey and it’s spitting rain, wind is whipping tree branches around, temperature hovers in the low 40s. The snow recedes slowly.

The rhododendrons have suffered winter damage, many leaves are brown and curled. Hopefully the buds are OK and bloom will be good. It’s hard to imagine May will come with its brightly blooming flowers.

A few crocuses are up and blooming IMG_0224along the front of the house. The hellebore is still covered with snow but the epimedium is uncovered–I will rake away the old foliage so the flower stalks can come up unimpeded. The boxwood near the front door is still partially buried but I can see many broken branches–it might need a radical pruning.

This afternoon after work, I swept sand off the front walk and bird seed hulls off the porch. The hungry birds have dotted the front porch with poop–the railing and porch will need painting this year. The rose bush at the front of the driveway is still covered with a big pile of snow–I suspect it will need pruning down to the ground as will the spirea in the back, also buried under big snow piles.

I want to stride across the yard but the mounds of snow deter me. Instead I pick my way along the icy path to the backyard bird feeder–I wonder if the squirrels have finally found a way in to the feeders since they’re emptying really quickly these days. This is the second time I’ve filled feeders this week.

I went for a short walk before the rain came. My next door neighbors built a snowman during Saturday’s snowfall and it’s now two large snow balls sprawled in the yard with mittens attached to the smaller ball. Down the street I spot the remains of a snow tunnel built by an enterprising child. Snow can be fun, I remind myself.

This is March in New England after a long hard winter. Bird song is changing, I’ve seen and heard mourning doves, willow trees are turning yellow, I see buds on the maple, sap is flowing–these are small hopeful signs, the beginning of a dialogue with green, but spring still seems remote–a promise, a perhaps. Be in the present I whisper to myself, find the kernel of beauty in this moment.

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