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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

It's That Time

A lot of people have been pretty confused in this last week or so. The calendar told us a few weeks ago that the vernal equinox had occurred. Spring had sprung. There were some beautiful, warm days. And then the weather changed. I think most of us eventually learn from experience that it doesn't really matter what the calendar says. The weather will do what the weather will do. We in the Denver area had snow on Sunday, April 13th. Today, on the 15th, it is all gone. In my many years of living in Colorado, I have experienced snow in the Metro area in every month but July and August. Heck, I've seen so many snows during the first week of May that I have lost count. I felt the need to get more specific dates, and found out that the latest recorded spring snow in the Denver area was on June 12th (1947) and the earliest fall snow was technically in the summer, as it happened on September 3rd (1961). In fact, I remember about twenty years ago having a high temperature of about 90 degrees on a Sunday, and waking up to at least a foot of snow the next morning!

All of this changing and shifting can be hard for us to handle. Just when we put away the space heaters and get out the shorts and fans, we get a nice blast of chilly weather. But to be completely honest, in this part of Colorado we don't necessarily ever put away our shorts. There's usually at least a few days each month that are around 70 degrees, and therefore shorts-worthy. Ditto with sandals. 

But whether we believe it or not, springtime is here. I keep waking up early in the morning thinking that I have slept most of the day away because it is so sunny outside. Then I look at the time and realize that it's still pretty early. The days are getting longer, and the plants are waking up. The trees are putting on their soft, gauzy, green dresses, and flirtily swishing them in the breeze. Buds and blooms are showing up everywhere. 

A day or two before the last snow fell, I saw and heard something that delighted me. A pair of falcons were flying from building to building, and singing to one another. I am pretty sure that they are the same ones who had a nest on the building next to ours last spring. In a few weeks, anyone who walks past the building will do so under the watchful eyes of one of these falcon parents. The other will have flown a short distance away to try and distract anyone from the nest's new occupants. Both of them will also be making noise to let everyone know that they are being watched, and that they should just keep on moving, thank you very much.

Yesterday, rather than the mating ritual of the falcons, I was treated to one from a pair of doves. They were cooing at one another as they flew from building to building, the male trying to convince the female that he was a good choice for a mate. She answered, but flew off, and he proved his persistence by following her from one roof to another. And before long, we will be seeing our resident mama squirrel looking for food to keep up her energy while she nurses her babies. 

Before we know it, full summer will be upon us. The colors and temperatures will get more robust, and everything will feel very alive. We will hear ourselves saying the same things we do every summer, that we have had enough of the heat. Where is the winter weather that we enjoyed so much? It will be here again sooner than we expect, as usually happens. And the cycle repeats itself. So enjoy the brief tenderness of spring while it lasts. Notice the changes in the quality of the sunlight, and the softness of the air and the soil. Enjoy seeing, hearing, and smelling life asserting itself all around you. It's that time!