by Donna Andrews
Earlier this week we in Northern Virginia survived this winter's big snow event. I hate to complain, but it wasn't a very satisfactory snow for any of us. For the snow lovers, it melted way too fast. And for everybody else . . . well, this time of year you always hear a lot of people muttering "When will it finally be spring?"
Sometimes I mutter with them. But right now, I find I'm rather enjoying these last few days of winter. There's a spare, serene, geometric beauty in the bare branches of the trees. Later in the year, when they're all clothed in leaves, you won't be able to see as easily how some seem to be standing up tall like soldiers on parade, some reaching out anxiously toward the sun, and others just spreading out as if where they've grown was the best of all possible places for a tree to be.
And I sometimes think I enjoy the early flowers more than the ones that bloom along with everything else. The early daffodils--the Rijnveldt's Early Sensation were blooming in January. The hellebores have been blooming even longer. And the crocuses are up--at least they are in my neighbor's yard. Mine are either slugabeds or have been eaten by something--rodents chewing the bulbs or deer cropping the foliage. Must go take some pictures of the neighbor's crocuses soon.
I've been taking more pictures of the birds that visit my birdfeeder. For a while, I couldn't get any good pictures. If I opened a window or a sliding glass door, the silly birds would fly away and stay away longer than I could stand to wait around for them. What's wrong with them? Don't they realize that I am the all-powerful filler of the feeder, the dispenser of pre-shelled sunflower seeds? Can't they stick around and show a little gratitude?
But I've finally figured out a way to compensate for the slight overexposure that happens when I shoot through my sliding glass door. And I've created a sort of blind out of boxes--when I stand behind it, only my head and my camera show. When I need a break from writing, I turn around and crouch over the boxes,waiting until the birds get over the momentary fright at seeing me approach the glass. Later this year, when the yard is filled with color--at least I hope it will be--I may not spend as much time stalking the birds, but for right now they're a bright spot in my photographic day.
So I'm content to wait a while for spring. Just as long as I've got my camera and my iPhone to play with, and a few garden catalogs to daydream over. Am I the only one who feels this way?