Valentine’s Day is always such a nice splash of flowers and red hearts with love in the air. I went into two different floral shops today, just to smell the roses and soak up the good cheer. Valerie, my Valentine baby, is 45 years old today. How ever did that happen?! She, and remembering all the heart-decorated celebrations for her over the years, always makes this a very nice day. But, as is always the case on February 14th, I am ready for spring. While our snowpack is above average, the valley never did get what we consider serious winter, and for some reason, that makes me even more ready for spring. At least when there is serious winter, we have the quiet beauty of snow falling and falling out the windows, and being snowbound a time or two, which is always so exciting. It was 43 degrees yesterday with beautiful sunshine, and a bit of a squall moved in over night, but it’s still above freezing, and I suspect this is how it will be going forward, as spring nudges closer and closer. The NOAA forecast for a week out writes, “Next week continues to look unexciting as high pressure moves into the area.”
On my walks, I see the same fat robin in the same tree. He also appears to be waiting for spring. The males arrive first, and maybe he has scouted out this particular tree for his potential valentine, so they can make a nest together for the family to come. Plant Land, a local nursery in Kalispell, puts out a sign in January, counting down the days until spring. It often feels so bleak to drive by there and see the sign, nearly buried in snow, with so many more days until spring arrives. But, yesterday, in the sunshine, with dirt and dust kicked up by passing cars on dry roads, it was so encouraging to see 35 days left–now, 34 days. We leave for Finland on Monday, and when we return, it will be March. By then, the homestretch will have arrived.
Finland and the nordic countries have also missed out on serious winter this year. Even in Lapland, the temperatures have soared above normal. We’re taking a six hour train ride to the Arctic Circle to see reindeer and the northern lights–it kinda feels like one last desperate attempt in search of winter! When we arrive back home, March’s weather will surely disappoint–serious winter could even appear to torment us. But, my goodness, in this afternoon’s sunshine, I could almost smell spring, and all the hope it brings. Until then, bon voyage to us…
“Is the spring coming?” he said. “What is it like?”…
“It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine…” –Frances Hodgson Burnett
“Can words describe the fragrance of the very breath of spring — that delicious commingling of the perfume of arbutus, the odor of pines, and the snow-soaked soil just warming into life” — Neltje Blanchan
“Spring is made of solid, fourteen-karat gratitude, the reward for the long wait. Every religious tradition from the northern hemisphere honors some form of April hallelujah, for this is the season of exquisite redemption, a slam-bang return to joy after a season of cold second thoughts.” —Barbara Kingsolver, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life