Spring in Rappahannock, though beautiful as always, feels a bit unnatural this year. It’s as if the latitude has shifted south and we’re now a part of north Florida. Or maybe it’s not spring at all, but an early summer.
The ancient Greeks, in their wonderful way of mixing the poetic with the analytical, had a concept called “The Generation of Opposites.” There is no day without night, for example. But more to the point, there is no spring without winter.
By that, I mean a deeply felt spring, a spring that’s all about rebirth and resurrection – which, by definition, requires that there must first be death, or at least hibernation.
So it is that spring is most appreciated after a long, cold winter. The longer and colder, the better. But Rappahannock this winter saw only very few days below freezing, not to mention very little, if any, snowfall.
Allergy sufferers such as myself can now look forward to savoring extra and prolonged doses of pollen – with trees, grasses and weeds all overlapping and extending to as many as nine months a year.
And for anybody drawn to outdoor activities, from hiking to gardening, nature’s bounty might soon also seem like too much of a good thing: Deer ticks and other pests, not suppressed by the normally killing cold, are already out and about, in numbers that many longtime residents say must be record highs.
If it ever does get cold again with an overnight “killing frost,” there will be just that many more things to kill given the head start our early and warm spring gave to all the flowering plants.
As for springtime canoeing or kayaking on the Rappahannock and its tributaries, it’s probably best to forget it. The water levels unnaturally seem at summertime lows. Instead of paddling, you’d spend most of your time scraping and dragging.