We live among constant change, and we only notice it when we’ve been away.
After two weeks abroad, I return home to find that the first crescents of spring have, well—blossomed. The osoberry, the first bush to sleep and to awake, is draped in full regalia. The creekside is speckled through with waterleaf, one of the only native plants to out-compete ivy. By late summer it will dry out and die, and the invasive groundcover will devour the forest until the hero returns next spring.
The elderberry has almost unfurled, its leaves a pale green, the color of a summer maple leaf when the sun is leaking through it. And the maple, now, in earliest spring, has little purple buds, and the beginnings of what I once thought of as grapes—clusters of flowers that will someday become dry, hairy samaras.
Most birds are here all year, but they are conspicuously quieter in the winter rains. Now the red-bellied robins follow each other over our fence. They sing their low-high trills. They go silent when the crows come in. They sit together at dusk and watch the forest smooth over to gray.
Spring is an ever-moving process. Soon the first salmonberries will be alive. Then the turkey vultures will return, circling high above the driveway at mid-afternoon. We are forever in a current. Forever wind-blown. There are no seasons; just the slow leaking between them.