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The weather is a yo-yo now. Two days ago the thermometer didnít climb above ten degrees, and the north wind was screaming around the back of the house. Today the thermometer stands at fifty, with a balmy breeze and hazy sun. Just last week the temperatures were still fifteen to twenty degrees below zero at night. And they may well be again tomorrow. But today the chickadees were singing to each other in the woods, and the intermittent crashes of snow and ice sliding off of the roof were startling me all morning long.
Itís a comfort to see the days getting so much visibly longer, and feel the warmth of the sun getting so much stronger. In Maine, Groundhog Day is the traditional ďmiddleĒ of winter, when you should still have half of your jams and jellies and firewood left. I guess maybe we have gone through about half of our dried tomatoes (and enjoyed every bite, too).
Last week I saw a flock of thirty or more birds fly right over my head as I walked across the driveway one afternoon. They were unfamiliar, and went so fast that I could not identify them at all. They were of medium size, light colored, closely bunched, and twittering to each other as they went. Snow buntings, perhaps? I have not seen them for years, but they do show up here occasionally.
Yesterday when I walked out in the woods, I heard one large bird keeping up a rhythmic, low-pitched croaking sound off toward the river. It sounded dismal enough, but maybe that could still be considered a sign of spring, too.
I am not fooled by a spring-like day today. We still have more snow to come, I am sure. And they will mostly be the heavy, wet snows of March. But now it will not seem so final. I know that winterís days are numbered. Somehow even just one warm day in February helps me to believe in spring again.