Doors were flung open and people tumbled outside to feast on a sky unmarred by clouds and alight with a blazing sun. Sixty degrees and a soft caressing wind invited us to come out of hibernation and celebrate the end of a brutal winter. Bikes, trikes, scooters, skates and strollers rolled happily along. You could feel the solar panels sucking up the sun. Pairs of osprey wheeled overhead, calling faintly to each other. Two bald eagles flew low down the inlet, a sight so unexpected and surprising that I cannot be sure I actually saw them.
But my first gratitude blossomed yesterday, at the annual return of a pair of mallards swimming in a nearby roadside ditch flowing with the winter melt. They pique my curiosity… why the ditch, when there is a lake, a creek, and a pond within a half-mile radius? Spotting the ducks feels like a homecoming. Something in me loosens when I know they have come back, and some piece of the world swings into place. Here is the ditch where they hang out.
The second gratitude is simply relief. Warmth, unmarred by the piercing of a bitter wind.
Third – a lightness of being – no coat, or scarf, or mittens, or hat or any of the other paraphernalia required to master the winter.
Fourth… with any luck (and I won’t count on this, although I will hope) I will not have to scrape frost off my windshield until November.
So, the animals and birds are returning to their summer home and we are emerging from our winter homes into the light of day. Hallelujah.