Emergence: A Spring Appreciation

spring shootsMarch passed in its typical, indecisive style. Though the Michigan winter loosened its grip, it also clamped back down every couple of days, a rough reminder that it could still send us diving under our blankets.

Yet when the sun was high in the sky, it was no longer a teasing, distant disk that offered light but no heat. Now we could feel it. As March went on, much of our record snowfall melted away. We opened our jackets and welcomed the sunlight against our pale skin. Pond-sized puddles formed on sidewalks and along curbs. Most nights, they froze hard and slick.

April has started with the promise of a consistent run of above-freezing highs. After the winter we’ve had, it’s no surprise that a 45-degree day feels balmy. I was happy to tuck my parka into the closet in favor of a light jacket.

We wince at enormous potholes, swerving our cars to avoid them if traffic permits. My son says it’s like the giant slalom in the Olympics. And when you’ve got no choice but to hit one of these craters, trouble follows. Crumpled hubcaps decorate the curbs of our busiest routes, and tire stores are having a banner spring.

Filthy, icy piles of snow remain, like tiny glaciers, layered and compacted and full of grit. My driveway is clear now, but there were three inches of ice there for months, four or five at the base of the curb cut. Hacking it out made my shoulders burn.

As we clean up, sweeping away winter’s mess and turning our faces to the sun with relieved appreciation, we search our garden for signs of life. There’s not much there yet, but this morning, as I set out for work, thin crocus leaves greeted me, barely peeking from their pale sheaths.

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