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March 13, 2000

In Transition

Maybe I should have taken Lent more seriously. Now Iíve got hardship enforced upon me. After a week of warming weather, Saturday served reminder of Winterís tenacity, as March honored its reputation with gusts of cold and wet. Iíve extolled this Winterís adherence to type, in the face of the global warming trend, but now I recall fondly last yearís milder season, and the drought that followed. It took me a while to realize that the lack of rain was a chronic problem, not my good fortune. Week after week of mild, dry weather allowed for a prolonged and lazy Spring, with flowers lingering long on branches that would have been shorn by the normal storms.

This year, I missed, maybe by an hour, the best of the flowering of the Red Maple in the Meadow. An early drizzle soaked the blossoms, degrading their spherical exuberance. I took a few feeble pictures, in the damp gray light, but it was clear that the tree, despite its best efforts, would not match last yearís performance. Many bud bearing twigs were lost in the glaze storm, and more were eaten by squirrels. Snow cover means less food on the ground, so the rodents look to the skies for sustenance.

I looked to the skies, and found mostly cold rain. Nevertheless, down the slope from the Maple, where the Willows give a little shelter, there is a spot where Spring is incubating. Not much to see, really, just a bit of stream, backing up in a tangle of briars and decrepit Willow, but feeding early grasses, green even now, with a green thatís spreading. It creeps back into twigs, like warmth into fingers held before the sunís fire.

Nearby, high atop a Cottonwood, big, coarse, green buds are burgeoning. As in the related Willow, the sap rises early in this big Poplar.

Around the Pool, other Red Maples were picking up the slack, with plenty of blooms. From certain distant angles they coalesced into red clouds, that merged into Willow yellow and Elm-flower green. These colored hazes have begun to blur the vacuous scaffolding of Winter. I still hope to see the sun set them alight, but Sunday was much like Saturday, if a little drier. To top it off, I lost a dayís photos in a downloading glitch. Not that there was much that could be recorded, subtle in the dim light. In despite, these things lead me into hope. Spring is poised to arrive, on a fair day, or a foul one. Either way, Iíll meet you there.