Goodbye Winter!

(I originally wrote the following post almost a month ago, when I first thought spring was arriving. Then spring departed for parts unknown. We had to wait almost an entire month for spring to slink in, like a dog that was punished for tipping over the garbage can. Not sure which one of you banished spring, but I hope the punishment is over so I can finally plant something without fear of frostburn or windburn. I'm planning on replacing my almost dead kale seedlings today, so spring better be here for good!)

Like a house guest that tells you they're leaving, but then hangs around using up all your hot water and drinking all your wine, winter had one foot out the door, then turned around and ducked back in again. Here in western Howard County, Maryland, we had snow on the ground for the first day of spring. Not much, I'll grant you, but more than enough for me. Winter lingers, not quite ready to leave.

March might be the most difficult month here in Maryland. There are beautiful days with temps up into the 80s, followed by brutal winds, cloudy skies, icy rain, and yes, even snow. Good luck figuring out what to wear. I was just about to put my winter coat away for the season when I was forced to wear the damn thing again. A week or so ago I was in shorts and tank tops; now I'm donning hats and gloves along with my down coat.

Tradition tells us to plant peas for St. Patrick's Day, but do peas enjoy a layer of snow on top of them? (BTW: those pea seeds I planted STILL haven't sprouted!) My tiny strawberry plants have been making a valiant effort to recover from the munching of our resident herd of deer. I quickly covered them when I heard about the possibility of snow. Hopefully, they will survive and bear fruit this spring.

Winter is hard. Our bodies naturally contract in the cold, and I feel like I've been tight and tense for too long. I'm ready to unfurl, like the fronds of a fern, to welcome the warmth back to the earth. Come on, spring!