25 February 2008

Spring - the first Crocus

Spring is here in Colorado. There may still be as much as 4 to 6 feet of snow on the ground in places and there are still storms ahead of us but the tide has turned. The daylight has reached a point where the snows will not last. The first crocus of the season flowered today in my mother's garden, there are newly born calves slumbering in the ranchers fields, the tips of willows have turned either purple/reddish or bright orange as the sap returns to their limbs to swell the buds, and best of all, the scents of the earth have returned, floating up to our noses once again after having been frozen much of the winter.

I must admit, I find this an early spring. February is a tough month usually in the northern hemisphere. It usually holds the promise of spring without actually seeing it through. It is for all it's short days, often the longest feeling month of the year. The year when the darkness and the snow and the cold presses on us and we wish for green grass and cherry blossoms and long forgotten warm summer afternoons.

This year, February does not affect me so much, partially because on coming south from Alaska in December I sped up the daylight increase in my own life and having gotten quite used to a spring that is not visible until May I am a bit shocked to find evidence of it in February. Delighted but startled. Every year I have always marked the two scent events of the spring, the day I can first smell the sea, and the day I can first smell the earth. The sea is usually scent-able several days, sometimes even weeks, before the earth. There is no sea here but the smell of earth is clear, musty, and damp, and earthy; of humus and mulch and mud.

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For those of you interested in the Yukon Quest, Kyla Boivin finished off the Quest as the Red Lantern winner on Feb 23rd. Good going Kyla!!! You can check out pictures of the Finish Banquet and learn about who won what awards here: http://www.yukonquest.com/site/news-articles/?articleid=1615


  1. Yeah...no signs here yet. Color me envious...

  2. have you listened to the Dar Williams song February?

  3. Wow. I always forget how Colorado is on such a different clock than Minnesota. Crocus already? I'm not ready. But I am ready to check out the Yukon Quest stuff.

  4. How lovely - the flower and the post. I know it's sort of random, but I really enjoyed your word choices and sentence structures. :)

  5. Just the tips of shoots and leaf buds on trees here in SW Canada - but that's enough to make it feel like there's light at the end of the tunnel! It somehow feels like there's been a huge jump in light and warmth in the last week or two. I've been walking around smiling at trees all week.

  6. Days are longer and the Sun is warmer...sigh. I feel as tho i can't finally take a deep breath.Thanks for your excellent observations-leave it to an "ologist" ;)

  7. I love this, the crocus. I hope it will get to be spring in Nevada sometime before June. Right now, our only sign of spring is an occassional day of mud, not ice.

  8. Aaah, what a beautiful post. I can smell the spring through your words.

    Here of course the season is slowly swinging towards autumn.

    I'm sorry that I have not yet acknowledged and passed on your wonderful award. I am snowed under a heap of university tests and essays.

  9. Thank you for the picture of the crocus, and your words. It's good to know that Spring has arrived somewhere!

  10. I really need me some spring right now.

  11. qt, the signs are here only if you look very closely. But trust me, the tide has turned.

    jen, no, should I?

    jocelyn, I forget too when I'm farther north but to be honest the corcuses that are appearing are only on the most southerly slopes and there is no vegatation around them yet and everywhere else there is too much snow.

    post-doc, thanks! What a compliment.

    cae, I always think the farther north you are the more noticeable the daylight length is. And it is indeed enough.

    doris rose, anytime :)

    silver fox, ah, you can't be that far behind and trust me, we've got piles of snow too and it is still coming down but I promise - it won't last!

    hel, I was thinking about you and autumn when I wrote this. Good luck with your flurry of papers and tests!

    bean-mom, oh, it's in more places then most people guess. Many people here think I'm crazy when I say it's spring but I noted the day I heard a first bird love song two weeks ago and that can only mean one thing!

    crazymumma, I find it's a bit harder to feel in the city sometimes...maybe you need a visit to the botanical garden's greenhouse to tide you over.

  12. In the southeast, the temperatures are like a roller coaster in the winter months. 80's to 30's (Fahrenheit). Sometimes 30-70 in a single day. We are fortunate in our exposure to sunlight.

    Our difference in perspective is interesting, yet humbling. You crave more sun and I crave more cold. Perhaps both of us will get our wishes.

  13. thanks for the nice post. i mark february as when nightime bike rides home from work start to be in dusk instead. its wonderful but doesn't last. soon its the warm, sunny summer, but i prefer to ride in a cold dusk.

    speaking, your skijor post is great too. i would love to have a dog/setting conducive to that, but i'm pretty sure the city dogs would revolt!

  14. Wonderful post.

    Spring is much in evidence here, with bulbs flowering, early blossoms, and even the first sightings of swallows, not usually seen until summer. The scent of the earth is sadly lacking here in London. As for the tidal Thames, well, it does have a scent, but it's overwhelmingly not that of the sea(!)

  15. Wait.. a crocus? Already?

    You must be in the southern part of the state... hee hee...

    It's been nice this week, 50's and 60's... but not 'flowering' nice, that I've seen.

    But they did just have the home and garden show... hmmm. Maybe I've been so busy at school that I missed it!

    Thanks for sharing it!

    Scarlett & V.

  16. ms chica, at the moment I crave more warm but I am awfully fond of all four of my seasons.

    matte, oh, I dunno, I'm sure there are enough of them that pull at their leashes who would be willing to give it a try. And if you have a couple of them they egg each other on.

    but why, ooo - I think I know exactly the smell you mean of the Thames :)

    Scarlett, laugh, that's what a friend of mine said but yes, already, granted only two of them but still.

  17. Matte - really?! I hate riding at dusk. Give me full daylight or full dark (when my lights are more visible) any day.

    I spoke too soon about signs of spring - today was nasty and sleety. I just hope it's snowing on the mountains!


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