You know how it is in these parts.
The calendar says mid-April, and yet the snow squalls are still abundant.
Mother Nature not knowing or apparently not caring that Spring officially sprung weeks ago.
The snow plows have to get one last pass.
The long johns are still a must before getting dressed to go outside.
Yes, we are in Central Ontario, a region just above Toronto which city folk joke about.
Anywhere north of Highway 89, where it is possible to see a snow flake in July.
Going for a walk in running shoes requires a careful negotiation with the sidewalk which may or may not still have a patch of ice or snow.
And then finally, before too much despair sets in, the last chunk of snow in the yard finally disappears.
You can see the earth beneath it.
The grass that does not look entirely dead.
In fact, those darned lilies which were thinned out last year and the year before, are already starting to sprout.
A green welcome through the frozen earth.
But the trees, oh, the trees, they still look dead.
Did they make it through the winter?
It was less snowy than most winters this year.
And less cold than usual too.
Yet they remain dormant – not willing to show a peep of survivorship, lest we get too excited.
And then one day, when you least expect it, you are out for a walk and you notice a tiny bud on a linden tree.
It wasn’t there yesterday.
And then all of a sudden, the lilac tree next to the window has a little green bloom.
It did not die after all!
The maple tree in the neighbour’s yard is also showing promise. A hint of little buds on each branch.
The branches on the willow tree are turning pink. Does that mean new growth?
The sedums and the stone crops and the peonies are all showing little pink and red tell tale signs that they survived.
The asters too, and the black eyed susans.
All tentatively waiting for the right temperature before they get too excited and blossom forth.
The longer days were their first clue.
The extended light was a sign that they could come out of their winter hibernation.
But there are some holdouts.
The hydrangea tree and the hostas and the mallows are keeping us guessing.
They are not so eager to let us know that they survived, that they are entirely trustful of Mother Nature.
They are the late bloomers.
The ones that come fashionably late to the party, and we know it will be well worth the wait.
The rabbit has gnawed the barberry nearly right down to the ground, but it bears some tiny buds too!
And we pruned the relentless Virgina Creeper nearly to the ground. But we see it too is starting to bud.
And we know now that each day will see more and more of those little green signs of buds that are about to bloom.
Each day on our walk we will see another tree bravely awaiting the chance to let its leaves out.
And then before we know it, it will be gone.
Summer will be here, the long awaited Spring will be over, and everything will be in bloom and blossom.
The anticipation of Spring is the hardest part.
And the best part.
Because, in our neck of the woods, there really is no Spring.
The seasons race from Winter to Summer.
Don’t blink or you’ll miss it.
Just yesterday we saw teems of minnows gathering in a nearby creek.
They weren’t there the day before that.
Spring is so sudden – it is well named.
For it does spring upon you so quickly, that you never see it coming.
And then it’s gone.
The long awaited awakening is past.
And we are in the full throes of long, hot, humid lovely days.
And the plants and insects have wasted no time getting going.
They are primed and poised, and ready to go.
They know their jobs, and they are happy to do them.
For Spring has sprung.