Softening

softly

I looked out the window this morning expecting some more cloud cover, some grey, some chill. A soft layer of morning cloud, lay between me and an unmistakable hint of blue. And on the horizon, behind our closest Juniper, sparks of sunlight broke through the branches. For one day, or several hours at least, a temperamental winter had loosened its grip.

We set out towards the woods and the ravine, for our “long” weekend walk. The whining wail of coyotes greeted us, a sound normally heard after sunset and then in the deeper hours of the night. But they must have been hailing the changing texture of flash frozen stream and path beds, where rain followed by deep freeze had created a shiny, slippery landscape. Even my dog knew to walk around these obstacles. Me, not so much, as I teetered comically (and ignorantly) to keep up.

I had to unzip my parka, and soon I was sweating in the generous heat of the sun. We passed a trickling stream, found smells that had been preserved throughout the season, to now melt, rot, act as clues and guideposts and way markers for the busyness of wildlife traffic whose prints criss-cross our path.

With the help of our neighbour we have forged a path for the spring, but with this optimism I must remember that March hasn’t even given us thought. We lie in the way of a moody month whose history is the stuff of legends, as we recall mid-month snowfalls of years gone by. And as always April will promise more than it delivers. For now, we grab a doggy toy and head for the yard to break through a softening crust with all the satisfaction of popping a layer of bubble wrap, and sink into a granular layer of diamonds.

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