Monday, February 27, 2012

Spring Ahead

February is my least favorite month. It's an entire month of winter, and even though it's the last one, I find it hard to feel anticipation for spring until it's done. March is barely better, but it is home to both my birthday and the first day of spring, so it feels a little brighter and happier.

But this winter has been strange; I think we've shoveled our driveway only twice. We've had lots of unseasonably warm days. (I'm talking 40s, though. Buffalo hasn't gone tropical. Yet.) It feels like winter never really arrived and now it's close to ending. I looked at the calendar yesterday and realized we're only two weeks away from the beginning of Daylight Savings Time. Spring is coming soon!

I was outside cleaning my car this afternoon and I felt the first urge to look at my dirt. When spring arrives, it's my favorite activity. I walk around the perimeter of my house, examining the dirt for green shoots. I've spent the last few years planting bulbs and perennials, so now I live for those weeks when you see new plants arriving every day. I figured I wouldn't see much today; it may have been a warm winter but it is still technically February. So I was surprised to see my tulips poking through the dirt already. Daffodils were coming up, too, though that seems slightly less strange. Around the corner I found a columbine unfurling.

Get back under those leaves, little dude!

All that green was definitely a welcome sight, but I almost wanted my plants to go back into the dirt. It's not time yet! I think they will all be okay if we have a blast of cold, but their appearance is yet another oddity in this winter of oddities. It's been nice to not have to shovel or trudge through slush, but what is coming this spring and summer? I'm afraid of the possibility of extra bugs and plant diseases because they haven't been properly culled by a deep freeze. I feel like every month, season and year now is the "most/least x in history", whether it's hot, cold, snowy, rainy or dry, and that makes me uneasy.

Western New York isn't the only area seeing early plant growth; just today I read an article in the New York Times about plants in the New York Botanical Garden blooming early. Flowers are always a joy to see, but at this time of year, one can't help but worry about them. What happens if there is a frost? And I hadn't even thought of pollination. All this early growth and blooming might not be good for fruit and seed production. Is this global warming and if it is, what can be done at this point? I wish we could at least have an adult conversation about our future and our options.

There's really no point in complaining about a warm winter. All the people wishing it were like this every year aren't going to make it a reality just by wanting it really badly. I have been trying to enjoy the positives, but I'll also keep my fingers crossed that we won't be paying for our good fortune come spring and summertime.