It's the small things. Windows can be open now to receive fresh air without the summer insects that are still dormant.
Occasionally, there is the flight of eagles adrift on the updraft, unseen winds at play just above the leafless birch and aspen.
Forty degrees means a person can go for walks without the purchase of gloves. Suddenly they become optional.
This temperature opens up pathways beside our roads, now dry. Drifts are in retreat. The rock faces of solemn cliffs invite us to look once again.
Their intricacy is a far cry from their blanks stares as we rushed by only weeks before, faces against the wind.
These are the days of open ground, and sunlight is penetrating the woods. We watch for seasonal surprises.
I remember one early spring in the Hanson Lake country of Saskatchewan. We stayed as a family at a small resort cabin. Our children were fascinated by the interplay of ice and snow and soft and melted ground.
We chased imaginary rabbits and pretended we were on a trail of great discovery, which we were.
Forty-degree melt means ice dams are more forgiving on our roofs. Steady water dropping from our gutters is a victory. The forces of cold are now in retreat.
Senses awake. The breezes are softer;
our faces welcome their touch.
Occasionally, we might see a migrating bird. Junko makes its appearance. Flocks of northern geese will soon be overhead, their characteristic "V," and our eyes cannot help but turn upward.
The clouds are changing, packed with ice crystals only recently. Then, they were passionless and inhospitable but now, there is a coquettish softness. It is not the cirrus of a summer day, but certainly a flirtation with what is to come.
Forty degrees is not warmth for a person living in the South. But it is enough for us to enjoy and to pay attention to when it comes seeking us out.
We celebrate it here in this majestic land where the Northern Lights come to blaze so unpretentiously. Here, stars can startle us with their number spread out in sharp relief against the cold, night air.
We come through hard periods. Winter and circumstance can isolate us. Our thoughts can work deception.We look for positive signs the world is changing.
In uncertainty, there is the blessing of the
ordinary, the commonplace, the routine.
Seeking out unexceptional places and sounds can give us a measure of distance and relief. Small things make walking on roads easier. Hearts can be more joyful when discovery and curiosity are afoot.
Things noticed offer experiences worth savoring.
These are the days, with much on our minds, we should pay attention to nature. It gifts us with a much-needed perspective. Nature's surprises infuse harmony and its gentle spirit into our awareness.
To miss these invitations is to silence that part of life that is an antidote to all the fret and worry the world wants to hand us. It is to let go for a time and to refuse the frenetic dance.
When rivers are just beginning to open, it is
time to take notice. Beauty is advancing,
making its way across the floor.
Can we be so distracted we won't notice it coming our way, that it has its eyes on us, that we always get the chance to say, "Yes."
John A Bragstad is the author of two books: Compass Season and The Poetry of Life. Both are available on Amazon.
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