From the Fields: The Terrestrial Spring Unfolds
From our resident farm steward – Emily Thomson
Robin in Snow | © Beverly Ash Gilbert
A solitary robin has been foraging in my front field for a week now—odd, because typically when the robins arrive they do so in numbers. In late afternoon sunshine which melted a morning ambush of snow, while chickadees and juncos thronged the feeders and woodpeckers and jays worked the suet, this new resident diligently patrolled my half-acre clearing for more seasonal fare. Moving with the odd gait peculiar to robins – “hasten and pause, hasten and pause” is how the writer Verlyn Klinkenborg once so perfectly described it – he appeared to know something. It’s time, he seemed to be saying.
His presence, solitary or not, can mean only one thing – the earth is beginning to shrug off the somnolent cloaks of winter. With the celestial equinox still weeks away, the true terrestrial spring is unfolding with hints and whispers in the lowlands. Here and there, blossoming wild plums dare to appear along the roadsides. Twig-tips redden in the thickets by the creek. In the barn garden, beneath leaning sunflowers long-since picked clean by wintering songbirds, Wendy’s tulips are beginning to emerge. The sun is out today, if not tomorrow. The promise is implicit in the light.