Spring is right around the corner. I could feel it in the cold this morning. It was still twenty-nine degrees, plenty cold for here in the foothills of the Blue Ridge, but there was a different feel to it. A feeling that winter’s death grip is loosening. A feeling that the rebirth I associate with spring might be on the horizon. It is a feeling of change. I know that winter will attempt to hang on. In this part of the world March snow storms are not uncommon and the last frost date is April fifteenth. BUT IT JUST FEELS DIFFERENT!

As a retired baseball coach my feelings of change may be tied to major league pitchers and catchers reporting to camp or the reports of high school and college scrimmages with their opening dates just around the corner. I remember a game finished in a heavy sleet and another with a wind chill so low that both pitchers combined to pitch a one hitter. I do not miss games in early March. No, winter will hold on as long as it can despite what a ground hog saw or didn’t see.

There are other harbingers. Crocus and buttercups are trying to push up toward the sun. I saw gold and purple finches at my feeder. Time to get some thistle. The main herald is my beautiful red tailed hawk. Well she is not mine but it is the third or fourth year she has made her nest in a dead oak tree on the hill above us. I hear her mating call and know there is a male somewhere and that it won’t be long until they will be training their little “branch hoppers” to fly and hunt.

If weather trends continue like the years before, there will be plenty of great days for baseball practice, a round of golf or even wetting a hook in late February and then March will come in like a lion with strong and mostly cold winds. I see there is possible snow coming next week but there is something about this cold.

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