Winter is over, despite the bit of snow that remains in this photo. I know that winter is over because the snow geese are moving north.
On Friday night I was walking Baby Dog for the last time when I heard a soft and familiar hooting in the distance. It was a warm night, with that balmy feel that often precedes rain. I looked for the geese in the overcast sky, not really expecting to see them. And then, there they were, the first of several skeins appearing like apparations over the cabin. They were bright against the cloudy night sky, bellies illuminated by the reflection from the lights on the ski slopes, aglow in the night like something out of a myth. It was almost too amazing and too beautiful to be true. The first group was 50-75 birds, the second several hundred, the third a smaller family group, all heading north, all calling as they flew, heading home.
So, I can no longer deny it. Winter is over. The geese told me so.
The rain that came the next day removed 90% of the snow cover, and now mud season has begun. I can't call it spring. To me the word spring sounds so chipper, and the reality of the new season is anything but. The reality is heavy and mud-covered, with rain. I am not yet ready for this, but the memory of the snow geese flying north helps ease the way.