Finding spring in dead skunks


In our hermetically sealed world, it can be easy to forget, or resent, that there are seasons going on out there. We mostly do a lot of complaining—HOW DARE IT BE COLD IN FEBRUARY!—except when we get a rare perfect day and mete out some praise. More often, we dash between home, car, and office trying our best to ignore the sky, temperature and wind.

Lest I sound a little holy, let me be clear: I’ve hardly been a model of Zen calm throughout this winter. I confess to feeling truly angry at times about the slippery walk to our front door and the cold that pours in through our ancient windows. I also may have cursed at a snow-covered field or two.

But things are looking up, and I will choose this convenient moment—when the temps are rising and the days are undeniably longer—to begin paying attention again, looking for positive signs. Never hurts to tune in a little bit.

For one thing, I’ve noticed lots of dead skunks on the road, attended of course by that unmistakeable parfum. I’ve been told that a rise in skunk fatalies heralds spring, because those critters are out moving around more as spring approaches, and therefore more of them meet their fates.

I’ve also seen big flocks of robins wandering through fields, and hear cardinals singing more in the mornings. Today a friend told me her daffodils are coming up.

It’s always heartening to me to see evidence of the planet continuing to do its thing, despite all the damage we do, and despite my own modern-lifestyle blinders. What’s getting your blood stirring right now?