Sunday, February 17, 2013

Winter Is Broken

It's subzero again, at least in the wind chill department.   The temperature right now is 14F, with winds in the 20s, and it's truly bitter outside.  You can feel the chill pouring off the windows.

Earlier this week we had a few beautiful days, and a gentle thaw.  I know very well that we'll have another 6 weeks or so of winter from now in CNY, no matter what Punxsutawney Phil said on Feb. 2nd.  Still, this week we hit that magic day in the late winter when you just KNOW that spring is coming.  As I read it in a book once, "The back of winter is broken."  No matter what the weather does for the next month or so, the tide has turned.  The dogwood shrubs and brambles have a flush of red in their bark.  The buds on the poplars and maples are growing.  The birds sound different - same birds, new songs, as if they're celebrating something we don't know yet.  I found a woolly bear caterpillar trundling across the bare yard at the stable, and held it for quite a while before I put in back into a patch of grass.  Soon the willows will turn yellow and stay that way until their first flush of catkins and leaves turns them soft chartreuse in April.  So bring it on, winter - your days are numbered.

(I just had to go look up woolly bears.  It turns out it's the caterpillar of the Isabella tiger moth, Pyrrharctica isabella, and it stays a caterpillar through the winter and pupates in the spring.  Cool!)