Yes, it is still winter. I know most of us want to jump ahead to the vernal equinox, but we have twelve more days of winter before spring's true arrival. And yet, spring is here, flirting with us, if not wafting in on balmy breezes (not yet), spring is at the edges, in rivulets beneath snow crusts, slowly whittling away at the bulk.
Spring is a promise and there are signs all around us. The sound of the necessary sump pump lulls us with gurgles and hiccups that are almost as welcome as birdsong (almost). After such a snow-heavy winter, however, spring's promise is not revealed in a subtle, pleasing manner. No, first we must endure the ugly side of winter. The trash blown by the last autumn winds as the first snow hid it from view, lies in streets, on sidewalks, revealed by the melt. Leaf piles or detritus from the garden, abandoned in those frantic minutes as the sun was swallowed by four o'clock in November, still sit, nearly compost now. The driveway makes its transition from skating rink to mud puddle of the largest sort. Snow, once pure white, momentous heaps reaching window sills, now crumble in dirty piles, rotten.
With the thaw, we see reminders of last summer's bloom, antiqued, brittle, and faded. Green lies in wait beneath sheets of ice that have taken on reptilian qualities in the melting.
And yet the ugliest end of winter is not in the thawing, the crumbling, the left behind, the puddling, gurgling mess. Cruelest of all is winter's willingness to cling, to linger and taunt. Not an hour after I took these photos, winter returned, coating everything in a sugary, sloppy mess.
Sigh. We are indeed on the ugly side of winter, its days numbered as spring approaches. Come the thaw!