07 February 2011

His coat gleaming with spring

I put little stock in the prognostications of marmots and therefore do not take seriously the appearance (or not) of the shadows of Phil, Chuck, Willie or any of the other moonacks1 as a sign that spring approaches.

On Saturday, though, it rained, a long steady soak, and I had the feeling that while winter was by no means over, the end might be in sight. This feeling was reinforced by the sun the next day. Between the two, most of the snow melted in my yard.

It could, of course, snow again. I know better than to wish aloud for spring, or to get too excited about raking up the leaves I left over my flowerbeds until after Washington's birthday, at the earliest. But I am sorely tempted to go lift a few and see if my 'Firefly' crocuses are beginning to come up.

1There has been speculation, but to my knowledge no definitive proof, that Linnaeus somehow heard the lovely Algonquian name for our large North American rodent and incorporated it into the scientific name he gave the species, Marmota monax. 'Moonacks' (Lewis and Clark wrote it as 'moonax' or 'moonox') probably derives from the verb muna or mona, 'to dig.'

Robert Hass

1 comment:

  1. Nora, I was in D.C. on Saturday for that long steady rain...and on Sunday morning, for what felt like the beginning of spring. Then we hopped in the car & drove back to Pennsylvania, where it got colder and whiter by the mile. Tonight we'll have temperatures in the single digits, and more snow.

    It ain't over til it's over...


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