Saturday, March 7, 2009

Spring Air

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.

1 comment:

  1. I stumbled upon your blog mainly due to its name: spicebush. This is one of the favorite local woodland shrubs of my wife and myself here in Philadelphia. We even have one planted in our small yard. Unfortunately there is only one so we get very few of its bright red berries each year: so far 1-2 per year. Still we love having it, rubbing the leaves and smelling their striking aroma. It won't be too long before their tiny flowers are opening here.

    I've just read portions of the three most current entries of your blog to my wife because I enjoyed them so much. Who knew that there was such a thing as 'shirin-yoku'? But it sure makes sense to me. Soon I was chuckling at the ever witty George Bernard Shaw. And soon after that I was reminded of the hilarities of 'Wallace and Gromit', all in an educational essay on the Snowshoe Hare. I have to confiess also that I got so distracted by Wallace and Gromit that I need to go back and finish off the rest of the post.

    In any case a very enjoyable read this morning.