Friday, February 15, 2013

A Tiny Hint of Spring

Every February on a warmish, sunny day, I get the faintest hint of Spring in the air. Today was that day. It's just a tease mind you, as winter could continue for many weeks and with much cold and stormy weather. Today though, it felt like a transition, however small. Nearly a foot of snow still covers the ground, and yet there was a whiff of Spring in the air, carried in on a gentle breeze from the South. It was warm enough to forego a hat and the winter coat on the afternoon sojourn.

As Kodi and I finished a mid-afternoon walk, just as we turned into our driveway, a turkey vulture soared low over the trees. I could see its bald, red head with my naked eye as it peered down at us (although more likely it was smelling for carrion with its keen sense of smell). The vulture circled back a few times, soaring effortlessly, with the occasional few flaps of the wing to keep it on course.

Vultures were always more of a southern bird, but like the cardinal, Carolina wren, mockingbird, and tufted titmouse, their range is moving north. Still, it is unusual to see them during cold spells in winter. Thus, the vulture sighting over our house today, I took as a harbinger of Spring.

The seeds have been ordered, including a new one this year -- watermelon radish. Now, if that doesn't beckon for Spring. Cardinals are singing, barred owls are courting, and skunks have emerged in time for Valentine's Day to look for a mate. Love and visions of planting, if not Spring quite yet, are in the air.

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