A young year brightens

February 2, 2013 

From the marriage of seasons, another year has been conceived; although spring remains a distant dream, the arrival of Vestal February brings subtle changes within this nurturing world. Man, dreaming of warmer days, often forgets how seasons lag far behind his most optimistic calendar. The peak of winter’s cold or summer’s heat doesn’t take place until at least a month following the solstices.

Only now are we becoming aware of how our allotted amount of daylight has increased, a full 41 minutes so far and increasing by better than a minute each day, since the winter solstice.

There are few outward signs showing the changes underway, lest one counts the tasseling of cypress flowers, showing full and strong in the treetops, high above the black swamp waters. Which brings to rise the fisherman’s proverb: “When the cypress begins to bloom, the shad begin to move.”

In a few short weeks the glow of swamp maple shall be painting the woodlands in scarlet flame, while the dogwoods come to bloom. Already the azalea buds are responding, tips swelling, leaves awakening.

The sap is rising, the foundations laid, the race has begun, but don’t forget where you left your overshoes and overcoat for winter’s not over till the swallows sing.

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