As I was driving home from town a few minutes ago, I saw several flocks of robins along the way, some within a half mile of our homeplace. These are the first flocks I’ve seen here this year, though I have noticed a couple of isolated individuals during the past week or so. Flocks of robins are a sure sign for us that spring is coming; unfortunately it means that spring is probably still at least a couple of months away. The robins always seem to come too early up here, usually after a period of mild weather and just before some more snow. In fact, as I am writing this, big flakes of snow have begun pouring down and the ground has been quickly covered. Only an inch or two is expected with this system, but many of our biggest snows have come in March or April. There surely will be more winter weather before spring actually arrives at our homeplace, probably sometime in May. Maybe the robins will fly to more hospitable locales not too far away for a few more weeks.
One of the benefits of living on this mountainside is that we get to enjoy the changes of the seasons each time we leave home. While the snow covers the ground here today, there may be no snow at all in Boone which is about a thousand feet lower than our homeplace. We won’t see flowers and leaves on our trees for at least two more months. But when we go into town now, leaf buds are showing red on maple trees, hints of green are visible on willows and shrubs, and even a few flowers are peeking out. We went off the mountain (another couple of thousand feet lower) for a few days earlier in the week and were treated to blossoms of cherry and pear trees, redbuds, flowering quince, and lots of daffodils in full bloom. Returning home we get to enjoy the changes in reverse. In spring we are able to see the greening of the mountains as it works its way from bottom to top. In autumn the changing leaf colors progress from top to bottom. When we want something different, we just go higher or lower.
Spring is truly a delightful time of year, but so are the other seasons. Each has its own unique experiences and treats for us to enjoy. Some people definitely prefer one season over the others and winter is not usually the top choice for most people, especially after long spells of too cold winds and too much snow and ice. But for now I’ll enjoy watching the falling snow. The coming of spring will be that much more spectacular in contrast.