I laughed at the kids after we'd thrown them out into the snow and watched them romping in giant stomping strides around the house. They were crawling across the ice-encrusted foot of snow in the backyard, trying not to break through, as if there were a lake beneath them instead of the crunchy hidden lawn. They brought me the pieces of the bird feeder that the crows and magpies had discovered and violently deconstructed. I washed off the ice and snow, dried it, refilled it with bird seed. The little birds hadn't found it at all and if it hadn't fallen during a gale the last time, it might have stayed hanging there, filled forever. I'd rather feed the small ones than the big sturdy birds with their firm footprints in the snow. The crows are nesting in the garage again. They fly in under the rafters and wriggle their way through. Come spring we'll find a huge mess inside of dropped branches and dirt and guano if we don't keep chasing them out again.
Everyone's heart is beating hard for spring. Beneath the snow things are happening, warmth is coming, green is growing. It's still February and I still love this quiet white world but I can acknowledge the pull—the wish for the thaw, for short sleeves, for that wild feeling of joy that spring bestows. I need it too, to push me from this hibernatory tendency; this bear-like and grizzly burrowing that keeps me moving so slowly. I'll be ready when it comes and greet it with open arms.