Snowdrops, ready to bloom

Here’s a word of encouragement to my colleagues and neighbors in Keene: spring is beginning to arrive in Massachusetts, so it will make its way north to New Hampshire someday soon.

Sprouting snowdrops

Keene, NH is about 90 miles northwest of Newton, MA, and at the start of almost-spring, those 90 miles make all the difference. This weekend in Massachusetts, I spotted the year’s first snowdrops in the same spot as last year, more or less on schedule; snowdrops in Keene, on the other hand, typically don’t bloom until late March. Yesterday morning in Newton, after a weekend of warmth and rain, much of the snow had melted, revealing sidewalks, yards, and baseball fields that have been buried for months. When I arrived in Keene yesterday afternoon, I found New Hampshire to be noticeably colder than Massachusetts, with temperatures below freezing and more than a foot of old snow still on the ground. In New Hampshire at least, it will be a while before anyone is playing baseball outside.

It might take a few weeks for almost-spring to travel the 90 miles between Newton and Keene, but it’s coming. Earlier today while enjoying a quick dog-walk down almost-clear sidewalks that were covered in ice last week, I saw the year’s first turkey vulture soaring overhead. In Hinckley, Ohio, the March 15th return of migrating vultures is cause for celebration; in New Hampshire at least, a lone soaring vulture is enough to make me think of the spring days that will glide into view someday soon.