Birds were calling outside my window this morning inÂ the dark long before I was aware of their sounds. WeÂ hear what we expect to hear, and for so long throughÂ the winter, there hasÂ been the wind, the creek, theÂ hum of the computer, the yawning dog stretching in hisÂ sleep in the next room, the ticking of the woodstove and no birds.
When bird voices finally broke through winter’s oblivion, I could not name them. That kind of familiarity with the particulars of life outdoors will return soonÂ enough as I comprehend it: I am no longer alone in a gray-numb world of winter.Â First light lures me with my coffee out onto the frontÂ porch.
A comfortable flannel shirt is just enough. BeneathÂ the raucous sound of the creek, spring hums underground. I feel it through my slippers, through the solesÂ of my feet.
March wind carries a trace of sweet loam, moves faint red buds gently at the first hint of dawn. March is to JuneÂ as early morning is to noon: there is not much color yet in the day, or the year. But the sun will rise. And it will come sooner tomorrow and stay later, every day addingÂ more tint to the faint dilutions of February.
By late April, the color will be almost more than the eyeÂ can stand, and I will sit down on the front steps all hoursÂ of the day enveloped in a full palette of artist’s colors.Â The east sky is pinking up already.
The pasture grass is smooth as a putting green paintedÂ butterscotch, pressed down flat as pancake batter, snowÂ after snow. Five black crows move erratically back and forth across the field like ice skaters, leaning forward,Â arms tight against their sides, gliding in the twin choreography of hunger and curiosity.