Spring Inventory

Yesterday, March 21st, was the first full day of spring.  It was sunny and bright, and there was a brisk March wind, a harbinger, I presume, of April showers.  Our crocuses and


Crocuses in full glory on the first day of spring

daffodils, at least the ones on the east side of the house and in the back yard, flashed their brilliant colors.   The only problem was that the high temperature for the day was 37˚, and that insistent breeze out of the northwest, gusting to almost 30 mph, assured that the wind chills never rose out of the 20s.   The date’s average high temperature here is 58˚, as March begins at a 51˚ average high and closes at 61˚.  This year few days have approached those norms, and when they have the accompanying precipitation and wind has generally taken the edge off.

And yet . . . , and yet as I returned from a shopping run I noticed that overnight the maple trees all along Rockbridge Street had taken on that unmistakable orange-tinged red color of their tiny blossoms.  Cold wind and all, they know spring when they see it.  The oaks, of course, look entirely barren still, but spring comes inexorably, willy-nilly.

I walked a couple of circuits around our yard yesterday, inspired by Jane, who had done the same after her morning walk.  I sat on the cement bench at the back corner of the lot and took it all in.  There’s lots of work to do to make the yard a really nice place.  Much of that has to do with the patio bricks that were removed to allow the grinding of a huge old stump, and the need to re-set the clumps of periwinkle we set aside so it can once again grow into the nice, thick cover it has been for the past couple of seasons since the willow oak was cut down.

It is what Robert Frost called “mud time,” though we really don’t get the full New England


As yellow as the sun

effect down here because the ground does not freeze deeply enough.  I can see in the soggy clumps of turf the hope for a grassy lawn, if we can keep the False Strawberry and other broadleaf weeds down.  But lawn care in the Chesapeake Bay watershed is the topic of a whole separate blog.  For now I’ll just enjoy the brave daffodils and crocuses, and trust that their brightness promises a warming trend before the end of the month.  March should by rights go out like a lamb.

©Arnold J. Bradford, 2013.

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