I was up before the sun this morning so that I could drive my daughter to work. The horses on a neighboring farm were already awake and nibbling the colorless stubble of last year's grass.
I waited another couple of hours before taking my stroll, hoping for something warmer than 34 degrees F. Despite waiting, that is exactly the temperature I encountered outside my front door. In the front garden, tulips and hyacinth are stretching toward the light... and the spring.
Down in the butterfly garden, the trail is beginning to emerge from beneath layers of snowfall. Daffodil tips and strawberry leaves dot the thawed patches with green. From beneath the leaf litter, ferocious beasts are emerging.
The thawed patches are like windows, offering a little reminder of last year's garden or a hint of the coming spring.
In the herb garden, lemon thyme and its English cousin are peeking out, aromatic and fresh. Parsley wakes from its long winter's sleep and the bright green leaves of salad burnett offer a mild hint of cucumber, several months before the real thing is available.
A tiny sprig of oregano is ready to be plucked for the soup pot, but is hiding beneath the dried brown stalks of last year's tiny white blooms, and daffodils tip poke up beneath a veil of lavender twigs that will have to be clipped back so that the bright yellow blooms can find the sun.
I came back in the house to bake some bread, do a little housework, and catch up on my reading for a class in International Relations.