Spring is in the air! The male red-winged blackbird has returned to his territory over a small wetland at the corner, chipmunks emerged from their winter slumber, a pair of downy woodpeckers chase each other around a tree trunk, red maple buds are swelling.
It is not just the sights that signal spring. This is the first morning of the year that the air smells like spring. Melting snow and warmer air is exposing bare ground and the bacteria, fungi, and decaying leaves and needles that were, until now, covered in deep snow. The trees too are shedding winter's grip.
Bathe in the sweet woodland air. Breathe deeply. The Japanese call this shinrin-yoku, forest air bathing and walking. In Japan they walk through forests for health; for many, breathing woodland air calms the mind and protects against illness. Seems to make me feel better.
Alas, here in our yard winter still has its grip. The setting sun behind our neighbor's house illuminates our front yard and garden still buried under snow. Planting peas and cilantro is still six or more weeks away.And the stonewalls and granite gate posts along Bald Hill Road are still buried, the chipmunks not yet ready to take up their posts along these roadside walls.
Each day will bring new spring events. Soon the vernal pools will break free of ice and the frogs and salamanders will make their way to these breeding habitats. In the meantime, get outside, breathe deeply, and bathe in the wood air. A refreshing way to start the day.