As winter hangs on like a bad cold, refusing to give over to the solstice any sooner than it absolutely has to, I find myself edgy, exhausted and having a harder and harder time being a good sport about the lateness of spring.
Most years in the Pacific Northwest, Winter bows gallantly and gives over to Spring well before the calendar crowns her Queen. At the very least, he'll take a day off here and there so she can begin to stretch her wings.
Not happening this year - at least not recently enough or long enough to count. My violets, the wild ones that always let me know in February spring is coming, have only started to bloom for serious this week. And it's a puny lot - six shivering blossoms where there should be too many to count - so many that the ground radiates purple.
My longing for fresh green anything, kissing warm air, happy bared feet is physical. And short of flying to Hawaii, I'm stuck with waiting. And trusting. And finding ways to spend the time in happiness rather than suffocating myself with frustration - or fear that winter will never end.
So I go for long, intense walks searching for reasons to celebrate. And when everything else fails or stales, I know I can find some bit of hope and relief with creatures of the air.
Robins congregate and hunt and claim territory with wild declarative chirpings. A song sparrow stretches to his full possibility at the top of a rhododendron and sings an aria guaranteed to bring down the house (or at least bring in a mate). And just yesterday I saw the first swallows of the season swooping over the river in what looked like a homecoming waltz.
Last week, after walking my kids to the buses, I stopped to enjoy a rare and short-lived bit of sun-blessed warmth. A flash of movement in the sky drew my eyes upward. Two bald eagles glided overhead, twirling and swirling in an elaborate dance with currents invisible to human experience.
For the briefest of seconds I considered hurrying on to the endless tasks of teaching that called to me from my room. I've seen baldies so often recently that it would have been easy to dismiss these two as ordinary. But I didn't. It would have seemed disloyal somehow to not stop and pay homage to my messenger birds. So I stood still while kids pushed around me like a spring river rushing around a boulder. I absorbed both the surprising heat of the new sun and the comforting familiarity of sky royalty going about their business, oblivious to their impact on earthbound, winterbound mortals.
I cannot have the enough of spring's pregnant abundance just yet. The enough of summer's hyperbole of lushness is months away still. And so for now I feed my hunger with the enough of simple beings with wings whose presence is a promise that cannot be broken.
photo from Flickr