The fragrant breath of light returning

There’s something to be said for the silence. In the spaces between slushy drive-bys, you can hear the apical buds on the trees and the tender new blades of grass stretching toward the lengthening light. The robins chirp as if whatever they’re doing is the best thing ever. The swollen river bounds between banks carrying fresh, frigid snowmelt, which the ducks endure proudly. The groundhog saw his shadow today in Boise, so winter will stay for 6 more weeks, but we’re getting somewhere. The land is starting to remember what it’s like to support life. And now we dream of gardens: plans for old bathtubs repurposed as planters, overflowing with greens and flowers and joy. The hope of great bounties brought on by the first sprouts of vegetable plants. The anticipation of bees swimming among stamens, awash in pollen.

We’re not there yet. The sun isn’t yet strong enough to break away the layer of cold air that clings close to the earth. The trees can tell that something is a little different, but the bulbs that hide in the soil haven’t yet gotten the message that winter’s hold is losing its grip. But the vanilla sky has given way to powder blue, sunset visits the northwestern window again, and we can again walk in the afternoon light with coats unzipped and gloves left lying on the car seat. Before we know it, spring’s perfume will permeate the stagnant winter air. It never comes soon enough, but when it does, we can relax our shoulders and head into the breeze, knowing that we made it through another year.