I left work the other night at 11:30 -- we had been doing pledge breaks, and when I walked out the door, the sky was black and dotted with stars.
And then, I smelled it. Hanging in the still, calm night, like a soft shawl the weight of a feather, was a fragrance I'd not smelled in a long while.
It was gentle, subtle. Yet most definitely present. It was the smell of dirt and grass, damp -- no, saturated -- with the melting snow.
It was the smell of spring.
The thermometer in my car told me the temperature was 34 -- certainly not the temperature one equates with spring. Yet, this was nearly midnight, when it's generally much colder. Another sign of spring.
I think we all have sense memories that click in each spring. It may be visual, with the first bulbs popping, or aural with the returning birdsong of old friends or a rushing river, the ice broken at last. I certainly noticed the receding ice the other day while walking.
You can see it here in the distance...
...and even closer.
Soon, these cattails, brown against the white of the remaining snow, will blend into the environment as tall grasses begin to crowd them out of view.
And certainly when it comes to smell, there are more than enough fragrances from which to choose. Soon our campus will be abloom with apple and cherry blossoms, and a lunchtime walk becomes a heady experience.
I've been walking a lot these days. Earlier this week, I noticed clumps of snow...
...and the crisp bare white branches of birch trees against the welcome deep blue sky.
I've been treasuring the last sunsets casting shadows on the snow...
...and enjoying the return of sunny skies and slightly warmer temperatures.
But I had yet to smell anything but clean, fresh air.
The other night, I smelled spring. Even a late snowfall can't deny the change of seasons that is on its way!