It happens every year, and it's always a surprise when it arrives. Like a like a long lost friend, it brightens up the last of these winter days.
I call this long lost friend the shift. Do you notice it? That one day when the morning light suddenly shifts, and we sit and eat breakfast in a kitchen filled with golden sunlight, instead of midwinter darkness. The shift, it wasn't here yesterday, and it doesn't hang around for long, just when you start getting used to it, the sun changes course and it moves to another part of the house. It's like that.
Outside, the air feels ever so slightly warmer and the faintest scent of blossom fills the air. For the first time all winter the lawn suddenly needs mowing. And we no longer panic if the wood stove goes out. Daytime sees windows flung open, and the blankets washed and dried outside in the sunshine.
I used to get panicky when the shift arrived, because it's a sign that I need to get moving, just like nature around me. The house needs a spring clean, the summer seeds need sowing, and those pruning jobs I've put off all winter need to be done. Now, now, now! Keep up with the daffodils!
But this year, life's too busy, with work, and school and weekend sports. Instead, I'm going to forget the to do list and admire the shifting light in the mornings, and sit and watch the steam swirl from my milky coffee into the sunbeams. Then I'll dream about a future of sunshine, tomato plants, cherries and plums, smokey bbqs, lingering drinks outside in the evening air, stringing up the fairy lights and dragging out the Adirondacks.
Welcome back old friend, the shift.