The chorus of birds has reached fever-pitch each morning as the sun breaks. Not just our local songbirds, but the turkeys, and chickens, and ducks seem to awake just before dawn to start their daily warbling, crowing, quacking, gobbling, cooing and clucking. Long gone are the mornings when our alarm clocks would sound in what felt like the middle of the night, and we would rouse in pitch blackness, prying the dogs out of their cozy beds to venture outside for chores before winter's bleak dawn. While that was our reality for eternity this winter, it has all been forgiven now that tulips are starting to peek out under mulch, and tree buds grow fatter by the day. Wispy, watercolored clouds usher summer closer as the sunshine banishes all traces of Winter 2013-2014... We'll forgive but never forget!
There is a marked difference in the behavior of all the animals since even just a few weeks ago. The chickens, who had barely set foot outside their coop since December, have been ranging all over our yard and the woods surrounding. They're finding tender new shoots, sprouted seeds, worms and newly hatched bugs. The color of their yolks has deepened already to a rich golden hue, and they just look healthier. They even venture into the pig pasture sometimes, scrounging for spilled grain or grubs that the pigs have turned up while rooting around.
Everyone feels playful, too. Finally, it's been warm enough for our chicks and ducklings to spend time outside. When they haven't grown their adult feathers, even a chilly draft can be enough to sicken or kill them. But in the sunshine, they strut and flutter and preen while learning to scratch around in the grass and dirt.
There is a certain sense of serenity among the frenetic energy of spring. We have so many projects to do, both inside and out of the house. But just as our ducks are busy building nests in which to lay their eggs, just as the bees are slowly circling the property in search of those first blooms that will carry nectar to rejuvenate their hive, just as the grass reclaims its green luster from high summer, so, too, do we feel the need to build and create and maintain.
"A high windy day, with sunshine and the blue jays calling. Snowdrops in bloom, first of all, and the bees active, finding something, I think, among the chickweed buds. But the year has not yet come alive. . . . Blessed quiet, thinking and working." — David Grayson, A Countryman's Year