In town this month ornamental fruit trees blush pink with blossoms. Out here buds swell on the cherry tree, flowering quince, and a new plum tree as well. Solo frogs announce spring and coyotes sing at night. Newts begin to make their daring pilgrimage across the paved road to nearby ponds.
February weather, especially in a good winter like this one, cheers as the month goes on. Some days clouds grate like steel wool, but blustery weather means movable, changeable gray with a chance the day might lighten.
After a storm, we gather downfalls, saw and stack, rhythmically satisfying jobs, not hurried and not ending. It’s a pleasure to be outdoors, smelling the wood from sawing, listening to the wind high above in the trees, doing the work of place.
One February midday I put on gardening pants for the season’s first time (over the wool long johns) and concentrate on the big front bed – pull pop weed, compost around the already budded daffodils (stems rising in cheerful increments: two inches, four inches, six inches – a blossom!). I trim fragrant but winter-damaged lavender and rosemary, and stop as raindrops tap on my coat. That muscle between neck and shoulder activated by twisting the trowel suggests tea.
Another morning, warmed from a woods walk, the first one this year with spider web wires across the path and the heart-lifting song of the winter wren, I walked out to the bluff. Sitting on the top of the picnic table, I watch clouds separate and coalesce on their way north to Victoria. Puffier clouds and more light reveal the Olympics to the west. Wind from the south pushes the water offshore, heading north with the clouds.
I intended just to toss one of Frances’s doorstep mouse offerings over the bluff (in an almost burial at sea), but I’m warm enough to enter that garden fugue state: pull a dandelion start (one even has buds), uncover emerging poppies, stop to admire pulmonaria blooms, turning from blue to pink or is it pink to blue as they open.
The wind picks up with that high in the trees roar, firs leaning against one another groan their movement. Clouds pile up solid and gray and ominous to the south.
Convinced the day holds rain and more indoor life, I’m surprised, as always, by the ways of Washington weather. By 11 a.m., strong sunlight flickers in the house as wind moves the trees and the clouds – and, spirits rising, the sky turns blue.