The sun is shining and today is warm compared to the snows of last week. It’s 6pm and I’m on the couch listening to Cat Stevens’ “Peace Train” on the record player, wondering how sore my glutes and hamstrings will be tomorrow.
My husband and I hiked today on trails about 20 minutes from our house. It felt glorious to get outside in the sunshine and walk under trees, on a dirt trail, rather than inside in my office, on my treadmill, as I’ve been doing day in and day out all this long winter. The hills didn’t necessarily feel good, but they make my gin drink that much better now that the hike is done.
It’s St. Patrick’s day, and the azaleas are probably blooming in my hometown of Savannah, Georgia. Here, the rhododendrons flower buds, incubating blossoms. The only green in the forest on St. Patty’s were baby hemlocks, soft tufts of white pine needles, the waxy oval leaves of rhododendrons, and mosses down by the creek.
As we hiked, and I walked through a patch of warm sunlight, I inhaled a deep breath to smell the air. It smelled not of dirt, not of soil, but of earth: sun-warmed stone, forest floor, and dry leaves crunched under hiking boots. A few steps later, in a chilly pocket of shade, I smelled the freshness of recently frozen earth, the metallic hint of water flowing over rocks, and the green scent of photosynthesis.
We saw a few leaf buds, but not many. The rhodies have flower buds, but they’re not plump or pink yet. Other than the temperature, the woods showed little sign that life would soon return.
It’s coming, though. Everything is about to begin.