When I went out to the car this morning, a gentle breeze caressed by face. The bird chorus was in a full-throated medley of chirps, tweets, and whistles. The new smell of the season’s first cut grass lingered from yesterday’s lawn mowing. A timid sun peeked through thinning grey clouds, casting a faint shine on the full pink branches of the blooming cheery trees. It was hard to believe that last week we had our only measurable snow storm. By last Thursday it had pretty much melted in town.
On Sunday, we rode out 250 west to the Blue Ridge Mountains which were still white with snow. The Blue Ridge Parkway was closed. However the adjacent Skyline Drive was open. (While the Blue Ridge Parkway is free, the Skyline Drive which passes through Shenandoah National Park, is $25/vehicle.) Although the roads were completely free of snow, it was still laying on the shoulders, fields, and forests.
Today, the only snow I saw was a black crusted mound piled up in a corner of a strip mall parking lot.
When I drove out 250 west today, all of the snow on the mountains was gone. Many of the maples, oaks, and beeches were either beginning to leaf or seemed to desperately want to. The weeping willow has been trailing long slender limbs covered with pale green leaves for a few weeks. (It is usually one of the earliest trees to leaf out in central Virginia.) Because of our cool March, we will probably enjoy several plants that do not normally bloom at the same time. Although the crocus seem to have come and gone, the cherry trees, jonquils, wisteria, winter jasmine, and pansies are now joined by Bradford pears, early azaleas, quince bushes, dandelions, rapidly growing tulips leaves, and even a few iris leaves.
Bees, Hoover and Lucy squirrel, several robins, wrens, cardinals, and sparrows have all made an appearance today. Hoover managed to empty the bird feeder this morning. Bits of left over seeds and nuts have created a mess on the back porch.