Mostly Clear
-9°C (15.8°F) A little warmer, a little more light, a little less snow. The sap has started to flow once again. The willows’ yellow buds have joined the maples’ red as harbingers of spring.

On Sunday I carried a downed branch from a neighbor’s red pine to our brush pile. Everything about it, from its bushy needles to its rich, resinous scent, made me feel warmer. The smell reminded me of a long-ago summer hike near the Appalachian Trail:

We entered the stand of pines after a long, rocky climb. Below, deep needles cushioned every step. Above and all around, dense needles softened the sun, the wind. Sheltered, protected, the perfumed air embraced us. We slowed, we stopped, we rested. When we began again, we were slower and quieter, but still warm, still energized by an insistent insect hum.