February 07, 2003


We are living inbetween. The first hints of spring are already showing up, provided you are willing to accept the faintest tease ... like the increase this week (evidenced, unfortunately, by flattened fauna) in the number of skunks crossing the roads, looking, and probably smelling, for love. There is the tiniest trace of color in the maple buds on top of the hill against the setting sun. And if you look closely, and I encourage those of you weary of winter to do so, you can see appearing in the tips of the outermost branches of small trees and shrubs the beginnings of phototaxic growth toward the light. Look carefully. As you drive along a roadway with your vision striking a glancing angle to the roadside woody plants in the direction of the sun low on the horizon (as in a morning commute), see if you cannot see a graceful but subtle upturning in the ends of supple living limblets that are waking out of a deep winter torpor.

The persistent beech leaves we saw on our walk yesterday remind me of a time several months ago when I envisioned just this time of year, and looked past midwinter to the first blooms of spring. Here is an excerpt from September's entry "A Time to Fall" that includes a larger image as well.

Image copyright Fred First ...An oak leaf will refuse to let go until December, clacking and waggling brown and brittle in the cold breezes. The serrated leaves of a smooth-boled American Beech turn almost white and become so thin and light, they seem to move on their own on a still January day. This year's beech leaf may persist on the twig until next spring's new baby leaf evicts it, finally, pushing it out and away, off into space, down to the black soil among the first of the spring mustards and violets.

Posted by fred1st at February 7, 2003 06:46 AM | TrackBack

Spring? We got six inches of snow in Fredneck last night. Of course, I do now have the perfect excuse to blow off work and spend the day sledding with the kids.

Posted by: Chris at February 7, 2003 08:26 AM

Spring? Small signs? Unfortunately no signs of autumn here yet, although the el Nino effect is apparently losing its ooomph and we might actually get some rain in the next couple of months. Desperately needed here and over most of Australia. 99.6% of my state of New South Wales is drought declared.

Posted by: Jan at February 7, 2003 06:15 PM

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