Spring before winter

It’s been a warm, wet winter this year in central North Carolina. A roller coaster of temperatures and alternating sunshine and clouds, but no snow – until today – maybe. We’re forecast to get up to three inches of snow this evening – we’ll see. But, the last few weeks of relatively warm temps, sunny days, rain and increasing photoperiod have encouraged many local plants to send out their springtime buds and flowers and the critters to begin thinking about spring courtship rituals.

I’ve watched each day as the morning sun turned the elm flowers into gold velvet discs. The squirrels (having apparently run out of or lost track of their abundant acorn and hickory nut stashes) have returned to raid our bird feeders in between mating chases. The towhees are practicing all the parts of their “Drink. Your. Tea.” calls. The cardinals are perching high and singing loudly their “cheer, cheer, cheer” song. And the spring ephemerals – those fleeting flowers of the woodlands – are beginning to emerge.

So, today we took a walk to say hello to a few spring bloomers before the forecast “snowpocalypse” hits, and they greeted us with typical humility and beauty.

A favorite spot of ours along Morgan Creek is chock full of errant daffodils amid the towering pines.

At the NC Botanical Garden, the spicebush is getting ready to pop!

Spicebush budding out

I even came across one early-flowering redbud. If the snow and sub-thirty-degree temperatures that are forecast do come along tonight, these guys will surely get nipped. Poor things.

Early redbud flowers

This time of year it’s easy to become impatient. With new signs of spring literally springing up each day, I often feel like winter should be over. Then along comes another blast of cold (and maybe snow) to remind me that I need to enjoy the moments, watch the seasons unfold in their own time and ways, and be grateful for the surprises and gifts that nature offers every single day of the year. Spring will come in its own time.

In the meantime….where’s that snow???

Are you seeing any signs of spring where you live? What’s happening in your neck of the woods?


  1. Thank you for those beautiful spring reminders. I remember the excitement of my thoughts in Ohio this time of year, hoping winter wouldn’t last much longer. Here in Florida I love winter as I hear the call of SO MANY birds hanging out here til they can return to their northern homes. Did you get snow?

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