Last Wednesday, I walked out of my haus in the morningnoon. The first thing that struck me as I stepped out onto the porch, other than the maddeningly bright and disturbingly cloudless state of the sky, was the smell. It was fleeting moment, of course, like they always are; they occur in the first split-second of stepping into a new environment. Then they are gone. You are then left to speculate and analyse for the next few minutes whether what it was that you had just experienced was true or just a figment of your imagination.
I suspect this is what the Big Bang was like: one brief moment of innocent and full realization followed by an eternity of analysis and speculation characterised by the tenacious pursuit of the answers that have vaporized into the aether long long ago.
So it was last Wednesday. I caught the very first whiff of La Primavera as I locked my door and drifted across my porch. By the time I reached the stairs, not ten feet away, the innocence of that big bang was gone. It happened sometime in that fluid procession of micro-scale events marking those two endpoints as my gaze flowed from the door lock to the porch floor to the porch stairs to the grass in the front yard to the view out onto the street. My nose, following closely behind my eyes, caught it long before my eyes did. Spring already??? As I reached the edge of my property, I decided to cross the street. By the time I got to the sidewalk on the other side, I had determined that, yes, what I smelled was most assuredly Spring.
It felt a little surreal. After all, we just barely got into February. Although this will be my fourth spring in the PNW, the early end of winter down here at sea level always catches me by surprise. Of course, the End of Rains is still far off and the wet season certainly not over, but February always seems to bring a little preview of things to come. Other northern places have the January Thaw, a short period of unseasonably pleasant havoc to throw people into momentary climatological confusion. We seem to have the February Preview: this is what forgotten-July will be like.
The following day, Thursday, was a bit uneventful, much the same as Wednesday. Friday, however, brought sight of emerging daffodils down the block. Sunday brought even more confirmed sightings of Spring flora. I’m waiting for our daffodils to break through.
For now, however, we are back to glorious, misty, wet weather after a week’s reprieve. I had to pull my hood on this morningnoon as I walked to campus. Though still a polite Northwestern rain, a copious and rather assertive amount of water sprayed the city today in between a few sunbreaks. With temperatures hovering in the mid-40s, I enjoyed zipping up my jacket to keep the water out.