May 5, 2017
Spring, in all her glory, has been reigning supreme lately. Flowers blooming, trees leafing out, and birds! Every day we see birds, and hear even more!
This morning, a rufous-sided towhee sat on a branch and sang, lifting its beak in joyous abandon! Then, a few miles and hours later, a rose-breasted grosbeak put on quite a display. It flew from one tree to another, stopping to perform a melodious melody each time. After about five repetitions of this, the grosbeak alighted on a dead branch, broke a twig off, then, looking around furtively, flew off into the far trees, presumably to add to its nest!
“Yes,” I thought, “Spring is here, with warm winds, sun-kissed plants, and beauty all around.”
May 6, 2017
We awoke to wind raging through the tree-tops, rain spattering on our tent, and fog wrapping cold, clammy arms around us, sending icy tendrils down our necks. It was as if a sleeping Winter had opened one eye, yawned, and bit down upon us with its last snaggly icicle tooth. “What happened to Spring?” I whimpered as I layered up with sweater, jacket, raincoat, and winter hat, and shouldered a pack nearly emptied of clothes.
We walked, shivering in the wind, as Winter laughed and shook the landscape. “It’s okay,” I comforted myself. “The weather forecast says sun tomorrow. This cold won’t last long.”
May 7, 2017
The sun lit the morning treetops with bright promises. Jay and I had been blessed with a fortuitous meeting with new friends, Alan and Mary Ashworth, who had offered us a warm bed in their home the night before. Now, as we stepped outside to go to church with our new companions, cold Winter laughed and blew icicles under my coat. The sun was shining, but losing the battle with temperature.
“Locals call this Blackberry Winter,” Mary remarked as we hurried into the warm car.
“Blackberry Winter?” I asked. “I don’t think I’ve heard that term before.”
“Yes, there’s always a cold snap sometime during the first week of May,” Mary replied. “Folks say it helps the blackberries grow.”
Well, if a few days of cold helped the blackberries grow, I was all for it. After all, walking while wearing all my warm clothes just meant that my pack was lighter. This week was going to be fun, as I hiked through a Blackberry Winter.