There's a reason folks up here atop the mountain advise against planting flowers or vegetables much before sometime in May. You only have to look out the window to see why: it's snowing sideways, with fat flakes screaming along out of the northwest here on the, what, 32nd or 33rd day of Spring? The temps are in the low 40s, the wind has been howling a couple days and it looks like late January or early February, except that the trees have little leaves on them. Or did when this blow started.
About a month ago, there were a lot of daffodils and various other bulbs pushing up and blooming. Then a Saturday afternoon hailstorm shredded the blossoms, made salad out of the leaves and stripped even our tough old mountain laurels of leaves that had been there since, I don't know, the first Mills Godwin administration. Perhaps I exaggerate. But that storm was nasty.
Today's is nasty and cold. We hardly had a fire in March because the weather was so warm; I've fetched firewood five times from the woodlot down by the barn in the last couple days, and it looks like I've got four more trips ahead of me before we return to Spring in another day or so.
Should have known, of course, but we got spoiled by the mild weather. Driving down Belcher Mountain Road the other day I spotted the first firepinks, some impossibly red little starburst blooms near a burned-out shell of a house. And I succumbed to the allure of some bright blooming rhododendron over at Felecia Shelor's Poor Farmers Market. I filled up the back of my pickup truck with five-gallon tubs of those beauties; now they're huddled against the wind at the back of the garage, shivering in the gale and looking doubtful about life up here on the ridgetop.
We'll look back with fondness at days like this in July, when the sun's out and flogging the daylights out of our hides while we scrabble at the weeds in the tomato patch or something, but right now it seems like light-years away. A man's got to believe in something, and I believe I will go fetch another cup of coffee and maybe a dollop of that snakebite potion we keep around for emergencies. You just never know up here.