Spring has arrived. I sit on the back porch with my morning pipe and watch the grass grow a millimeter at a time. I spin up little smoke halos soon to be reunited with their brethren cloud. A woodchuck who lives in my back lot stands guard over his hole, chattering his teeth every so often. Old Rascal here at my feet would a few years ago have harassed the varmint but is now content to lay stretched out on the floorboards.
The withered yellow beech leaves have finally fallen, replaced now with long spear-like buds. Skeletal branches are being filled with whorls of greenery, hiding from view the inner workings of the forest. A box turtle slowly meanders along a cow path before disappearing into the high grass. He’s looking for a place to settle down for the day. I think he’ll find it there in those tufts of soft heather.
In the early morning, before the fog has burned off, I make out the faint outline of four deer, a mother and last year’s three fawns. They’re all grown now and have made it through their first winter. By this time next year, they might be ready to have young of their own. With luck, this year’s acorn crop will be heavy enough for them.
A fox crosses the far end of the field, creeping along the wooded border. He’s perpetually worried about being caught at whatever he’s up to. That worry keeps him alive. No one likes a fox around, but he likes to be around. I don’t mind — as long as he leaves my chickens yonder there be.
Yes, spring certainly has sprung. And it’s been 52 days since Esther left.