|Goddess Maia—Primavera (Allegory of Spring) by Sandro Botticelli|
Despite the passing of March and the arrival of April, winter continued to hold her ground, remaining onstage like an ignominious dowager, huffing and puffing across the boards and preventing youthful Spring from making her entrance.
The First Day of Spring—March 20—came and went, but nothing really changed, meteorologically speaking. Yes, there were the occasional two hours of brilliant mid-day sun that drew me to the front steps like a cat, with nose raised to the sky and eyes shut tight. And there were hopeful signs here and there, heralding Spring's protracted arrival: one or two brave myrtle blossoms by the stairs, blooming ahead of their cousins; hyacinth greens pushing through the chilly earth by half-inches; a handful of miniature daffodils ready to blossom; and crocus with their oval petals opened wide like egg cups.
But even these vernal manifestations could not thwart the 20 degree nights or my constant urge to turn on the heat. The calendar could say what it liked. It was not Spring.
And then it happened. A transformative weekend of balmy breezes and healing sunshine, the likes of countermanded whatever harshness we had endured. I knelt by the hearth and swept up a winter's worth of ash, happy that there would be no more fires unti next Autumn. I brought out my collection of bird nests—abandoned and fallen from trees into various garden beds over the years—arranging them inside the hearth with bracken and small birch twigs. I opened the verandah doors, amazed by the stuffy warmth that greeted me. Soon I would be able to change out the windows for screens and breath in the fresh air, but for now, this welcome closeness would do.
Yes, there is still the occasional brisk ocean wind that blows down from the Maritimes and has me reaching for a flannel shirt or shawl. But Spring has finally arrived, blessing us with warmer days, warmer rains in the night, and soft earth waiting to be toyed with and planted.
For lo, the winter is passed,
the flowers appear on the earth,
the time of the singing of birds is come.