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Kate Forrest: Seasons of Salisbury: March

Kate Forrest


March 12: The sweet smell of fresh-cut grass filters through the air as my husband and I drive through Salisbury. A warm March sun is low in the sky, casting long shadows across the magnolia trees’ pink blossoms and the dandelions already gone to seed.

From Jake, we head down Statesville, my eyes lingering on a property blanketed in daffodils. Hundreds of the white flowers fill the yard like a springtime carpet. You couldn’t find a better illustration for the season, something I can’t help but liken to an enchanted landscape in a fairy tale.

At home we stand together in the driveway, savoring the brightness of the long evening. My husband is looking up. He takes daily cloud observations. Today the wispy clouds are cirrus and cirrocumulus, scattered with less than 50 percent coverage in the sky. The ground is between dry and saturated. This is what he writes. I like that he keeps records: meticulous, thoughtful, consistent. An engineer through and through.

We relish a few minutes of sunshine and clouds, with his scientific mind observing and my sentimental mind taking me back to childhood.

I close my eyes and I’m eight years old, sitting with my brother in the grass behind our farm house, looking up at a wide sky cloud-gazing, searching for shapes we recognize.

A top hat, a dinosaur, a bird in flight.

The chirping of crickets and spring peepers, those chatty chorus frogs, brings me back to now. I marvel at how soon the euphony of nature’s sounds fill the air in the Rowan County.

When I open my eyes, the sunlight is golden on the near-bare trees, the light catching the buds on the cusp of green. Follow the branches down, and the forsythia is filling in the understory in a wild maze of long stems and lemon-yellow petals. I point out the blooms to my husband, in awe of the forsythia’s untamed beauty, and he comments on the possible photosynthetic rates. I smile, knowing we both appreciate the natural world around us, though we see it so differently.

It will go quickly now. It always does. April will be green, and the remnants of brown and gray days will be far behind us until winter takes its turn again. For now, spring is in Salisbury, and it’s a lovely thing.

Kate Forrest lives in Salisbury. She has written nonfiction essays for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and her debut novel, The Crusader’s Heart, was published in September 2018.

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