As a human being, I am designed to use logic to draw potential conclusions to questions and thoughts. I know this. I know that realistically, here in the cold northern Canadian prairies of Canada we have another three months of winter left. I know that all of the tomorrows until March or April will have falling snow, biting wind, and grey skies. I know that I must keep my winter boots by the door and the mittens in the basket. But, I crave so deeply to be able to store them away and spend my evenings with a glass of wine studying my sprouting garden. I crave sunlight and that deep earthy smell after a rain. I crave the humid and heavy smell of summer. I crave the red, yellow, and orange blooms of nasturtium hanging along the fence. I know it is too early, and I know that I am only torturing myself by longing for these things, but today I found a small speck of hope for an early spring and I will cling to it with every part of my being.
I was out with the dogs, as usual. The last two days have been above 0°C, so the snow was softer and squishier than usual. I could hear drops of melting ice falling from the roof and splashing into puddles beneath the eaves. Toady’s fort walls had shrunk from just about two feet high to two inches. But all this melting isn’t what sparked hope in me. I am not naive enough to think that a warm day in the middle of a long winter means anything more than a heated wind blowing in from the right place. It was the dogs. They were following their outside routine of sniffing everything, eating snow, and rolling in muck. The wind was blowing cold and smelling of snow. A dark sky and no sun. I was in low spirits. The dogs wandered over to the raspberry bushes, which have long been brown and barren. They like to pick old berries off of the branches, and I don’t like them to because they end up with sticks in their fur. But today, no matter what I did, they would not retreat. I stood to the side, too grey of heart to pull them out, when I noticed that they were jamming their muzzles straight down into the snow surrounding the bushes. They would part the snow with their paws until the bare ground was visible, and then inhale deep breaths.
In my head, I imagined them smelling the heartbeat of Spring, slow but steady. Pumping life back into the roots, the earth, the cold desolate winter. The dark dirt moist with water, the grass waking up, the world coming to life beneath our feet. I imagined it smelling like spring. That smell that is almost alive. Dirt and growth and rain and expectation. Sweet and heady and green.
That small moment gave me hope. It gave me heart. It gave me a little taste of spring and all that comes with it. Then again, they could have been smelling the mice that like to burrow down behind the bushes in the winter. Let’s pretend it was spring.