The exact end of winter came well before the most recent thaws, arriving unseen in the coldest weeks of the year when flower bulbs and buds followed their own schedules and began to show beneath and above the snow.
Walking through town this morning, I found that some daffodils were budding, some even blooming, and a few tulips and hyacinths were up four or five inches. Snowdrops, snow crocus and aconite were already past their prime. Lilac buds were swollen, fat green and gold. Pussy willow catkins were cracking.
Of course spring is as much a state of mind as a state of nature. The beauty of a seasonal inventory is that there is never a correct number of things to find. The end of winter always appears in the eye of the beholder and it happens in the one crucial scent or sight or sound that tips the scales of private time.
Each person encounters that pivotal event at a different moment and in a different way. Whenever that realization does occur then the entire scaffolding of the winter collapses and all the pieces of the new year take on meaning as they fall into place. And suddenly it’s spring.
This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the final week of early spring. In the meantime, just wait: if it hasn’t happened to you yet, it’s going to happen to you soon….suddenly.