For maybe a day there are dry roads and tree branches devoid of snow and melt water no longer dripping from the roof a steady stream as though it is raining in just that one place below the eaves. For maybe three days there is the smell of fresh earth permeating the layers of snow and songbirds happily proclaiming the arrival of spring and all things green and new. For maybe a week we think winter might be over.
And then we awake one day in the middle of April to snow whipping past our windows on the leading edge of a mini-gale and the forest completely camouflaged in white again; not a speck of green to be seen beneath the new thick coating of snow making trees appear twice their width and burying the already white forest floor by at least another foot. We have not seen the pine-needle-strewn ground since November.
As I clomp swishingly out the door in my heavy boots and snow pants, pull on my toque and stuff my hands into oversized mittens, I wonder if perhaps summer has decided to sit this year out, if perhaps winter is all we’re going to get and the snow will stay forever.
Murdoch says he is completely fine with it as he leaps joyously into the growing snowbank beside our deck and gestures eagerly towards the shovel in hopes I may throw some snow his way. He forgets about mud puddles and swimming holes and lush green grass for grazing. He forgets about warm pools of sunshine gathered on the dry boards of the deck and breezes that smell like fresh cut grass and sounds of the ocean crashing through leafy treetops.
That all feels like years away now, a remote memory or something just imagined. So Murdoch and I head out for another snowy walk up the trail at the end of our road beneath a powder blue sky with the pale disc of a sun behind the thinnest layer of cloud making it feel like the perfect spring day, warm and fresh.
If I close my eyes, perhaps I could convince myself on this still, quiet afternoon that the season really has changed, that there are buds on the trees and great puddles on the trail and worms squirming about in the mud and grasses greening along the edge of the beaver pond and that I am not standing in the midst of a landscape that has been plucked right from the middle of winter.
But then, with a fresh coat of snow it is all so beautiful, even if it is April.