And one day, it will be spring.
All of a sudden, everything is alive. There are ten new types of birds; there are spring frogs called peepers, newly unfrozen and happy to sing all night.
We spent the weekend building raised beds out of cedar fence posts. When we began, I nearly stepped on a bumblebee that was crawling around confusedly in the grass. Then it got up, and flew in ever-widening circles.
I laid out the cedar posts in the grass, while Matt chopped some leftover 1 x 2's to the right lengths. I saw another bumblebee in the grass.
As we assembled the beds, I saw more bees in the grass, and flying concentric circles. And then, I heard buzzing underneath me. In the soil. And I realized these weren't confused bumblebees -- they were babies. They were being born all around me, and taking their first flights.
Chipmunks are out; red squirrels, too. We rushed to get our peas and beets and radishes planted, realizing that I'm late in planting, and there only 127 frost-free days here. In Jersey City, there are 185.
Walking with Pancho, we found ramps in the woods (!), and then he snuffled up a whole deer skeleton from the leaves. A buck, one who'd likely starved two years ago, when the deer laid down and died from lack of food.
I've read that the last gasps of winter, technically early spring, are the hardest for many animals. Their winter reserves are gone, and though spring may be so, so close, sometimes it takes just a few days too long. I'm reminded of Laura Ingalls Wilder's The Long Winter, in which an entire town nearly starves to death in the Dakotas. And I wonder, what has been my longest winter?