Some shrubs were split at their base and still lie prone on the ground, barely attached to their mother root, while larger trees were missing limbs that were torn away under the sheer weight of heavy sleet, leaving the shredded under-softness vulnerable. Many smaller plantings—roses, budleia, broom—were twisted in various distorted configurations, like charade-playing mimes trying to make each passerby guess the cause of their invisible burden.
My own roses are pressed to the ground in some places, despite my valiant efforts to stay one step ahead of the rain-soaked snowdrifts that blanketed them every few days. I shall have to spend a good hour or so this weekend, reaching in with gauntlet covered arms and pulling their thorny limbs back into shape.
Surely if gardening teaches anything, it is the lesson of resilience. And a willingness to be surprised.
The trenchant sound of a single bird in early spring can be startling for being so infrequent. In a few months time the air will be filled with myriad calls and whistles as robins, jays, grackles, mourning doves and house sparrows chatter and coo to one another. But at this time of year there is a solitary quality to birdsong, like a lone herald marching ahead of the legions that will follow.
I heard a woodpecker yesterday, his rhythmic tapping bouncing sonar-like amongst the tree branches overhead. It took me awhile to spot him, but I did finally see his red cap bobbing against the trunk of a sprawling maple.
And then today I heard two gulls, squawking to one another impatiently. In summer, their supple elongated crying carries on the warm breeze as they swirl above my head in broad unhurried circles. But their calls in early Spring are truncated and brittle, like shards of ice, and their flight is more purposeful, getting them from one building top to another where they shudder side by side, scanning the ground for edible litter.