Saturday, February 7, 2009

False Spring

It was a false spring kind of day today. No one really talks about false spring, but a lot of people know about false dawn, that hopeful bit of light in the eastern sky that ebbs and fades away, before the real dawn begins. Most of us probably think of that time of day as “false alarm clock” or “premature coffee brewing”.

Then, there’s false positives in lab tests and medicine, but that’s a different subject all together. And, false impressions, but that, too, is a different track than what today was like. And, false starts, but that’s getting pretty personal, fella.

The last few days, the morning ice and frost on the windshield hasn’t been as thick and hard, and, most afternoons, I haven’t had to zip up my thick fleece jacket, or wonder why I’m too stubborn to wear gloves when I’m out. In fact, there were a couple of days when there was an hour in the afternoon when it felt downright warm.

Even the primroses are out, and the daffodils are sending up green shoots. Two brave daffies have even sent out a bud, and there’s a bit of yellow now in the front bed, facing south and sheltered by the front porch. Buds are starting to swell on the flowering crabapple tree in the front yard.

Today was the time for the second winter dormant spraying. I mixed up the sulfurous spray, and doused my grapes and apples, as well as the rose bushes with the stanky yellow stuff, soaking down the twigs and branches, and the slightly swollen red buds. The roses were becoming brave, with fat buds of folded up leaves, about ready to burst. In a few weeks, I can come out here again and whack off the tips of the thorny stalks and get them ready for their spring growth, which paves the way for their summer blooms.

The sun was warm on my back, but there was a chill to the air in the shade, and a cool wind from the east reminded me that winter is not done yet. The guy at the gas station told me snow is coming, and I don’t doubt it. He’s usually right about most everything.

Now, the sun has set, and when my wife opened the door to let the cats out for their evening stroll, or whatever they do in the backyard (smoking cigars or gossiping with the neighborhood cats??), a chilly bit of air flowed in. I’m glad I fortified myself with a bit of whiskey and soda. Its preventative medicine, you know.

My afternoon stroll with the sprayer gave me an inventory of coming garden chores, and I realized I’ve been getting pretty soft lately, sitting in my chair in the evenings, playing my guitar, reading a book, doing some writing. Certainly not keeping my virile, studly body in tiptop shape. Well, except for my wrists, as I’ve become quite adept at dipping into the ice cream lately, and slathering sour cream on my baked potato. How come there’s not an Olympic event for that?

So, after I washed up the sprayer and put it back on its shelf in the shop, I stopped to pay homage to the weightlifting machine, and did my routine. Well, I wonder if I can call it my routine, since I haven’t been out there all week.

Spring is coming, but not this week, and probably not the next week. But, next month, the gardening chores will start in earnest, and I better get ready. At least, to make the word “routine” have its real meaning.

I guess I have to think about that “false start” thing, too.

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