Happy Spring Equinox!

It hardly looks like spring here in Idaho’s mountains. The ground is still covered in well over a foot of snow.

Many in more temperate climates are already greeting crocuses and daffodils, and cherry trees are blossoming.

She turned to the sunlight

And shook her yellow head,

And whispered to her neighbor:

“Winter is dead.”

A. A. Milne

Not here. Not yet. Soon, though.

Based on that “11 seasons” meme I posted in Fool’s Spring, I think we may have made it through our second winter and are now solidly in the spring of deception. One more bout of winter, followed by a brief mud season, then true spring will finally brighten the forest, adding leaves to the shrubs, green to the grasses, and a riot of wildflowers beneath the trees. Returning songbirds will fill the air with their gleeful voices.

One learns patience, living in these mountains. Spring takes her own sweet time, waiting for the earth to absorb the life-sustaining snow which nourishes the soil and fills the streams and rivers.

As I await the much-anticipated changes to the landscape that herald springtime, I’m treated to dramatic weather. Today – the vernal equinox, marking the first day of spring – was no exception.

Rain. Sunshine. Wind. Clouds. Snow. Graupel. Sunshine. Thunderheads. Hail. Glimpses of a setting sun. Maybe some thunder tonight.

country road, dogs, snow
Bare roads, snow-covered ground, and storm clouds during a walk in the valley. March 20, 2021.
clouds, falling snow, country road
We made it back to the car just as this brief squall of snow arrived. Look at those thunderheads! March 20, 2021.
dogs, snow, mountains
Finn happily rolling on the snow. More snow falling against the mountains in the distance.
March 20, 2021.

After taking the boys for a walk, we drove to a home a few miles away where I’m caring for three cats while their people are on vacation. For several minutes we were pelted with hail, falling fast and furious. On days like this, the weather changes quickly and frequently.

On the drive home I stopped to take a few photos of that changing weather, dramatic clouds against a bright blue sky, snow falling in micro-bursts.

Back home, late this afternoon I cleared the yard of dog bombs. Conall busied himself by digging deep into the snow. He had started digging in this spot yesterday, as if he’d heard a vole way down underneath, then gave up. I watched him for a moment, digging deeper, thinking surely he’ll hit dirt this time despite two feet of snow. He was focused and having fun. I went to another part of the yard to toss a toy for Finn. Conall soon joined us. Only later did I discover that Conall had succeeded in finding a vole, having left it near the hole he dug to find it.

dogs in snowy yard, vole
Conall’s vole. March 20, 2021.

Conall’s Food Bank for Ravens has reopened!

As the snow retreats in the yard, exposing vole tunnels, Conall should be able to keep his food bank stocked. I heard one of the ravens calling from the trees to the north and wondered if s/he was watching us, anticipating a meal later today or early tomorrow morning.

As the afternoon wore on, I watched the clouds: always moving, changing, shape-shifting, coalescing and breaking apart, thickening and thinning, meeting again, spinning their own tales, having their unique brand of fun. These dramatic clouds are, for me, the first sure signs of spring in the mountains as they scream, “Change is in the air!”

dog in snowy yard, clouds, sky
storm clouds in blue sky above valley

It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.

Rainer Maria Rilke

I see poetry in the movement of clouds across the sky, contrasting against a deep blue, the sun and its light highlighting their ever-changing shapes.

The thunderheads are always a welcome sight, a reminder of my father.

The boys accept my strange fascination with the clouds. They hang with me in the yard as I take photos. To them, all time spent together is good. Smart boys, my dogs.

dogs in snow-covered yard, trees
sunset through clouds
Last light of the vernal equinox. March 20, 2021.

I always find myself conflicted this time of year. I love snow. I love the white landscape and the crisp, cold air. I love running through the forest with the boys on packed snow, hearing it crunch beneath my shoes, bundled against the frigid temperature. I love how clean my house is in winter – no mud, dirt or dust tracked inside!

Yet I also long for the gorgeous wildflowers that I know are eagerly waiting to spring forth from the wet soil as soon as the snow retreats and the sun warms the ground. Such resilience, hope, and joy!

Luckily, I get to enjoy both seasons for a few weeks. I welcome spring at my house, where the lawn grass starts greening, the swallows return to their nesting box on the fence rail, and I move the table and chairs onto the deck for afternoons spent reading in the sun, while also enjoying the last bits of winter higher up in the forest where the snow has yet to retreat during morning runs with the boys. Truly, the best of both worlds.

The spring came suddenly, bursting upon the world as a child bursts into a room, with a laugh and a shout and hands full of flowers.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

In these mountains, spring arrives slowly, cautiously, even timidly. I like it that way. A whisper rather than a shout, yet ultimately with hands full of wildflowers.

I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars.

Walt Whitman

Happy spring!

20 thoughts on “Happy Spring Equinox!”

  1. What a beautiful post Rebecca. Change is definitely in the air, albeit a bit slower where you are, but still beautiful imagery to enjoy. Today promises to be a very spring like day with lots of sunshine here. I think the snow is behind us now. And I hope the same for you. It must be crazy when those two feet of snow melts for you. Mud season, as you say. And Conall will probably continue to dig for voles. Eeek!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Here, Dirty Dog/Extremely Dirty Dog season is roughly everything but winter! By October, Conall has a permanent dust-colored tint to his coat. Only after a month or two of snow on the ground does he come clean 🙂

      At least Max is washable. Try washing a Malamute!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hahaha! Silly you; one doesn’t bathe a Malamute! Well, maybe on the rare occasion they get too close to the butt end of a skunk. But they act like you’re about to kill them when faced with bathing, howling and lamenting the entire time! Not worth it! Luckily, Malamute coats aren’t oily, so they never stink, and the dust/mud/dirt that clings to their fur after forays on the trails can be brushed off, once they dry.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m quite pleased that spring is here. Hiking in shorts and a tee shirt today and sweaty all the same. I’d go bonkers if we still had feet of snow. Nine more months until winter! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Now see, I’m not ready for shorts and t-shirt yet. That means it’s warm outside, and I don’t do well in warm temps. No wonder I love winter, huh? When it’s finally shorts and t-shirt time here (May, June) I head out REALLY early in the morning, when it’s coolest and the sun doesn’t hit me directly. Maybe I’m part vampire…

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s snowing as I type this, so winter’s hanging on for a bit longer! 🙂 And don’t worry, you’ll continue seeing the dogs wearing their vests – they’re not for warmth, but instead are “visibility” vests (so idiots won’t mistake Conall for a wolf and shoot him 😦 ).

      Like

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