Here on the high desert of Central Oregon, we had record high temperatures for this date yesterday. We've had plenty of very cold days this winter, and we'll undoubtedly have more before warmer days are here to stay. But what a blessing it was yesterday afternoon to be out in the yard (in shorts and a tee!), raking up needles and tidying up the still-dormant garden beds.
To be sure, every February brings signs and promises of coming Spring, but rarely does that promise come to lighten our hearts as early as two days after Groundhog Day. I even saw my first lone Turkey Vulture of the year, more than a month ahead of schedule! Okay, I can't be certain that this bird even made the migration this year--occasionally one can't join the fall flight and ends up lingering all winter long. But that scenario is truly rare in our area, and I choose to interpret yesterday's sighting as yet another message of hope that warmer, longer days are about to make a return (as they have reliably every Spring that I've wandered this northern hemisphere).
This Spring, I'm particularly anxious to see how the new front garden looks. We moved things around a bit last fall, put in irrigation and a new patch of lawn. This left us with a border garden where we planted a variety of bulbs--tulips, iris, calla lilies, hyacinths of different colors, and miniature narcissus.
For me, Spring is a wonderful season (and by that I mean a season full of wonder). My wife and kids and I keep one another apprised of each "first" of the year--the first crocus, the first Western Kingbird, Say's Phoebe, Bullock's Oriole, or Western Rattlesnake. But this year, we several months ago gave ourselves an added gift of delight--a variety of first blooms of each of these garden flowers planted as bulbs in the fall. (I'll let you know how they do.)
Today, I'm wishing for you a promise of the warmth and light of Spring.