Saturday, March 20, 2010

March 20: Spring Equinox

Spring is officially here at last! I celebrated the Vernal Equinox by spending the whole of this amazingly warm day outside raking my lawn. In shorts and a t-shirt at that. Now I think I'm going to spend what's left of my day on the couch popping ibuprofen. Raking is a full body activity, and after five straight hours of it, my whole body's in pain. But it's a good pain, the soreness of muscles from doing something vigorous and strenuous outdoors. And such satisfying work--I can see my actual lawn again after months of looking out on a carpet of dead leaves and dirty snow. The dried grass, while not much more attractive, at least looks well-combed now. Tulips and daffodils I had forgotten were out there have been revealed, their green shoots now exposed to sun. The sword tips of iris leaves emerge, and the baby chives would probably already taste good in a salad. My quince, lilac, and rhododendron bushes all appear to have survived the winter well; leaf buds are beginning to swell along their branches. Ah, the joy of fresh greenery.

While I worked, I felt like I had emerged from hibernation and was once again part of my neighborhood. My next-door neighbors kindly lent me their wheelbarrow for the day while they rototilled their garden. The kids across the street rode their bikes up and down the sidewalk, talked about swimming in the river (ice-out on Megunticook Lake was officially declared yesterday), and then spent a few hours loudly playing in their back yard. So reassuring to see children spending their days outside doing things. I periodically paused to chat with neighbors walking or driving by. A day like this puts everyone in good spirits, as we all luxuriate in the warm spring air.

The song sparrow that arrived back yesterday flitted about the backyard. Blue jays jeered. Titmice and cardinals sang distant love songs. A nuthatch called briefly. Crows cawed in response to a barking dog. All was as it should be on the first day of spring. The annual process of renewal has truly begun, and no matter what weather we get in the next month or so--it could still snow--there's no stopping it now.

Vernal equinox--
daylight has caught up with night,
green world stirs to life.

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