A duck excavates a worm from the soggy driveway. She quacks appreciatively and trundles off to join her fellows in the field. The grass is greening slowly and I feel its soft newness beneath my bare toes as I take my usual 5pm walk to the mailbox. I savor the warmth of the spring earth, knowing that snow is forecasted for this weekend, the second weekend of May.
Down by the house, small golden trout lilies adorn the forest floor, spilling over into the lawn. If I lay on my stomach, I can see them silhouetted against the blue sky, like tiny suns. Do they know what is coming? Even as we pass the halfway point between the spring equinox and the summer solstice, I imagine that I can feel the pull of the arctic, the crispness of northern wilderness lingering into summer.
I reach the top of the driveway. The house and outbuildings are in a protected hollow, but up here, the wind sweeps freely across the fields from the mountains in the west. The wind brushes my face and I breathe in the warmth of growing hay and red maple buds, the coolness of damp earth and spring rivers. There is a package in the mailbox, along with the newspaper, and bank statements.
My bare feet bring me back past the chicken and duck coops. I am mobbed by curious hens, who think the mail might be food. I scatter cracked corn for them, to make up for inedible packages. I crouch down, tucking the mail between my chest and knees, and stroke their soft backs as they peck the tiny kernels. Tomorrow they will be briefly anointed by snow; but for now, the evening sunlight shines on their feathers, illuminating shades of brown, grey, and gold, and the green grass under our feet remembers spring.