Sunday, March 27, 2011

Over The Top

With March, we have more light. The sun increasingly rises above the tree tops around my home. Critters are sticking their noses out of burrows, dens, holes, brush piles and woodpiles and taking good long sniffs of the air.

Winter is hanging on this year with another 12 inches of snow just last weekend. Yet gone are the dreary days as we celebrate the light that now holds some tints of color and a warmth around midday that makes promises of more to come.

My furry and feathered friends and I are happy. How about you?

There is still a couple of feet of snow around my home. I’m not complaining. We need the moisture.

But since December I have lived by the path. The path, that is, to the compost pile and the woodpile, the bird feeder, the fire pit, and my well-worn path along the creek. The paths have become beautiful as the March wind carves striking lines and shapes in the snow. The banks, and the paths, and the piles have flowing and crisp edges.

The pin oaks are finally giving up the leaves they have held on to all winter. I beg them to drop their leaves in the fall, making cleanup needed only once each year. But they ignore me. My paths are full of leaves. The wind blows them down the paths and they huddle together in the dips and curves as though they were little brown creatures scurrying to get out of my way.

And now comes the fleeting warm ups when the temperatures rise just a little above freezing for short spurts during the day. It’s perfect Maple Syrup weather when moisture locks up tight on cold nights and then flows freely for even just a few hours during midday.

For months now, the way of the path was my limited walking world. But I have become flighty with the new freedom the contrasting warm and cold temperatures have given me on my morning walks. As the snow warms up each day and then freezes hard each night, a crust is created that can support me. If I rise and get out early enough, I’m free to go anywhere I please. Just this month, I've hiked over bushes that would grab at my clothing and snarl me up any other time of year. I've walked on water over the creek. I've run down slopes that, in the summer, have so much dead fall I’d surly break a limb on my way down. And I've walked over the marshes and swamps, knowing there are all kinds of critters underneath my steps waiting for Spring.

What a contrast to my path routine. I’m free, unconfined, and able to move quickly. March is warm sun on my face and cold wind at my back, serious enough to freeze my toes and frivolous enough to encourage me to take myself over the top.

"Spring is when you feel like whistling, even with a shoe full of slush." ~Doug Larson