March is here, and despite the fact that the first day of this month started with snow and ended with hail (with a sun break, rain, and wind to fill in the middle), it seems that spring is working it’s way here. Spring in the Northwest is infamous for crazy weather. I recall several years ago driving from downtown Seattle, across Lake Washington to where I was living in Bellevue, it was also March. As I made the not quite ten mile drive I encountered snow, sun, rain, sun, hail, sun, and rain. In that order. I was still new to the area and it just boggled me. I have watched it rain while the sun was shining. Weird. Crazy. Spring.
These line squalls, these storms that pass quickly through making for such changeable weather, are a hallmark for me that spring is out there, trying to push it’s way in. As I was out for my morning walk today I noticed another sign - bird song. It’s kind of funny, but in the dead of winter it gets really quiet around here. There is the sound of the Canada geese in the evening and the morning, making their way from one place to the other. There is often the raucous call of a crow, the plaintive cries of seagulls – sometimes the latter following the former. But mostly it is just kind of quiet.
Today I was struck by a chorus of sound. Irritated Stellar’s jays scolded crows who were bothering them just because they could. Big, fat robins were everywhere and happy to let you know about it. Little hoppers, the finches and the sparrows, were flitting in and out of the trees (which appear to be budding already). The air was filled with the chirps, cackles, cries, whistles and clicks of all of them. It was great. It is a happy sound to me; a sign that things are about to change.
Paying attention to all this wonderful noise made me notice other things too. There were crocus and tulips sprouting in neighborhood lawns, small bushes in bud and one variety that was already covered with tiny purple flowers. New landscaping around a local school was a riot of yellow, white, and red flowers. I’ve often thought that there is something monochromatic about winters here. Like the world turns to black and white for a couple of months, lots of shades of gray and brown, and then suddenly in spring the color is turned back on.
Another sign of spring is the preponderance of events lining up. My email is awash in announcements and invitations for new vintage releases, new tasting room openings, new activities to plan for in the coming weeks. It seems we are all coming out of a sort of hibernation. All of us looking forward to the new season that is just about to burst on us, waiting in the wings for just the right moment.