Thursday, March 11, 2010

Springing Ahead

While it’s not quite time yet for the daylight savings switcheroo (which happens Sunday), Ma’ikwe and I just got through experiencing the automotive equivalent of time lapse photography by driving from northeast Missouri to central North Carolina.

Tuesday morning we loaded the car, trudging suitcases from her house across a field of spongy fescue completely sodden with snow melt. While the snow cover is steadily receding as daytime temperatures consistently push into the 40s, the ground around home is still more than 25% white.

However, just two hours into our journey—halfway to St Louis—the snow cover had receded to the point that there were only occasional remnants to be seen, bunkered in on north-facing embankments. Winter had stubbornly held on in northeast Missouri and we were more than ready to leapfrog our way into warmer weather! (Our two-day car ride was something like participating in a giant game of Chutes and Ladders—the Weather Version.)

We stopped overnight in Louisville, which is about midway to the Tar Heel State, staying with long-time friend Ella Peregrine. Coming out from the restaurant where we rendezvoused for dinner, Ma’ikwe and I were pleasantly surprised to realize that at 8 pm it was still warm enough to not need jackets. Spring was in the air!

Wednesday morning we started seeing fresh chlorophyll in the grass and chartreuse smudges in the tree branches by the time we got to the convergence of Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia. While the snow cover reasserted itself as we navigated the mountainous twists and turns of I-77 riding down the spine of West Virginia, we finally shook winter for good once we shot through Fancy Gap and coasted into Winston-Salem. While the steady drizzle that greeted us there was not exactly our first choice on the weather menu, a spring rain at 50 degrees nonetheless touches the psyche (and nose) in a refreshingly different way than snow showers at 25.

We arrived at our hosts at 8:30 pm. During our brief scramble to unload the car amidst light rain, I noticed the unmistakable upward thrust of daffodil stems in the front yard. Yippee! After a brief stint in the living room featuring hot peppermint tea and lively conversation, Ma'ikwe and I gratefully gave ourselves over to horizontal therapy. The last thing I heard before drifting off to sleep was frog song—a far cry from the ecological niche we'd departed the morning before, where in northeast Missouri we're still in the yo-yo of temperatures ideal for pumping maple sap into our waiting buckets, and the predominant outdoor noises are the raucous honks of the first brave geese pushing tentatively north.

In short, Ma'ikwe and I are thoroughly intending to enjoy the advanced stages of spring during our fortnight on the East Coast, a harbinger of what awaits our return to Missouri March 24, when even the calendar will say it's spring.

No comments: