Winter hardens us. Not only the icicles are brittle.
A few hours of warm sun in late February, therefore, can loosen up the spirit as well as shrink the snow piles. One of my favorite concepts from middle school science class is sublimation, or the transition of a solid to a gas without passing through the intermediate phase, liquid. That’s what the snow does on warmer days: sublimates. (Some readers may prefer Freud’s use of the term to describe a particular kind of defense mechanism. It would be interesting to see if we could get those two definitions in alignment.)
As the snow disappears without leaving many wet patches, signs of life reappear. The world is not dead under snow, as I noticed in a walk around the neighborhood yesterday afternoon.
The moss is profuse and verdant and, when I put my hand on it, springy.
The lamb’s ears, though I have never grown this perennial myself, are vital and very soft.
And this little creature — a mole that I did not touch although I did speak to her — looks silky. Slit-eyed, she poked around the edges of the snow for a while, nibbling at acorn caps and looking for a way back into the ground.
Why do I call her a she? To me, the underside of her belly looked swollen and dotted with teats. Yet perhaps my imagination put them there, looking for even more signs of a coming spring.