Birds were calling outside my window this morning in the dark long before I was aware of their sounds. We hear what we expect to hear, and for so long through the winter, there has been the wind, the creek, the hum of the computer, the yawning dog stretching in his 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 soon enough as I comprehend it: I am no longer alone in a gray-numb world of winter. First light lures me with my coffee out onto the front porch.
A comfortable flannel shirt is just enough. Beneath the raucous sound of the creek, spring hums underground. I feel it through my slippers, through the soles 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 June 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 adding more tint to the faint dilutions of February.
By late April, the color will be almost more than the eye can stand, and I will sit down on the front steps all hours of the day enveloped in a full palette of artist’s colors. The east sky is pinking up already.
The pasture grass is smooth as a putting green painted butterscotch, pressed down flat as pancake batter, snow after snow. Five black crows move erratically back and forth across the field like ice skaters, leaning forward, arms tight against their sides, gliding in the twin choreography of hunger and curiosity.