If winter comes (and leaves), can spring be far behind?

BY BOB WACHS, Columnist
Posted 3/17/21

To me the winter we’re passing through, and soon to be out of, has been a little on the cold side here and there.

To be sure, we haven’t done our imitation of life at the South Pole, but when …

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If winter comes (and leaves), can spring be far behind?

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To me the winter we’re passing through, and soon to be out of, has been a little on the cold side here and there.

To be sure, we haven’t done our imitation of life at the South Pole, but when it’s been cold it’s been cold. And the folks who primarily heat with wood — my family included — have gone through some wood. We’re just about out of dry wood and it really hurts me to look out the dining room window and see Shirley struggling with really fresh (and wet and, therefore, heavy) red oak to get a fire going in the big outside heater.

Why, just the other day when the wind was up and the temperature was down, I did something to help her: I raised the window and called out to her to hurry up so she wouldn’t get so cold.

On top of the cold, it’s been wet. The rains and what few snow and ice events we’ve had have done their part to keep things juicy underfoot. That’s not such a bad thing when you think that come July we’ll be glad for every drop that’s in the ground. But at times it’s been a bit hard to get around through a foot of slop. On more than one occasion, I’ve walked out of my Muck Boots trying to put one foot in front of the other when feeding the herd or moving cows from one place to the other.

The girls seem to appreciate that effort and they can’t live off snowballs or dirt, so it is what it is. But lately the sun is starting to feel good and the bursting forth of buttercups tells us the cycle of the seasons is continuing.

Aside from the first yellow flowers, however, there are other signs of the approaching of spring and lately I’ve begun to be aware of them.

The other day I passed by a just manicured lawn. There wasn’t all that much grass in it, but the just-mowed wild onions smelled . . . well, they smelled like wild onions and spring. I’ve heard the first night-time insects and the tree frogs across the back yard and back pasture. The calves are running and jumping about, playing with one another and then looking for mama. The birds are flying here and there and fussing with and at the squirrels. Trees are thinking about putting on their new clothes. We’re raising the windows in the house more and riding with the truck glasses down more.

In short, the signs are all around, and where there’s smoke, there’s fire — most of the time anyway. I have to admit I do like some cold cloudy rainy days. They’re good for slowing us down some and I like to use them either to sleep a bit later or to reflect on things. But too much cloud blocks out the sun and it’s sure nice to see that old friend again.

Maybe you’ve noticed these and other signs of spring in your life. That’s a good thing. But the other day, if I doubted winter was heading toward being a has-been and spring was around the corner, I experienced the most telling sign and signal that warmer weather was in the air, no matter what Punxatawney Phil the Groundhog had said more than a month ago.

I was out for some sort of social event and was wearing my favorite denim jacket when across the parking lot I spied a young man who was not wearing winter’s clothes. Instead this ol’ boy was wearing shorts.

Spring is almost here.


Bob Wachs is a native of Chatham County and retired long-time managing editor of the Chatham News/Chatham Record, having written a weekly column for more than 30 years. During most of his time with the newspapers, he was also a bi-vocational pastor and today serves Bear Creek Baptist Church for the second time as pastor.


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