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Weather in North America has been weird lately. Back East temperatures are unseasonably high, setting records in place. Here in western Oregon, spring rains should be replacing winter rains. Instead, for two mornings in a row, I have awakened to a landscape covered in white. The snow slips silently in under cover of darkness. My first clue comes when I awaken in the night and notice that the room is lighter than it should be. I peek out the window, and there it is: a soft blanket of white covering the soggy mud below.

When the sun comes up, the snow starts to melt. I get out with my camera before breakfast to enjoy the spectacle while it lasts. All day we hear the drip, drip coming from trees and gutters. The beauty of white-trimmed trees and bushes quickly fades. Snow on the ground takes longer, with bits here and there surviving through the day. Little lakes appear in the yard, and I tread carefully around them to get to the bird feeder, my feet sinking into the muddy ground.

Such fleeting beauty. This moment will never come again, and I try to let it sink into my soul and become part of me. And, as the day wears on, I can’t help wondering. Tomorrow will I awaken to another spring surprise?

What surprises has spring brought to your backyard?

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Winter arrived in full force last night, as a snowstorm hit our area. The snow floated down in big, cottony pieces, covering everything in its path. The darkness outside was turned into the kind of white fairyland that decorates Christmas cards and travel magazines. I felt like running outside and tromping through the whiteness, catching snowflakes in my mouth. But it was dark and cold and late, and I had to work in the morning, so I snapped a few pictures from the porch and went to bed.

I woke to the sound of dripping, and my heart sank. Outside rain joined with the wet snow, weighing down bushes, dragging branches to the ground. The delicate pictures of the previous night, with each twig carrying its own little blanket of white, had run like a child’s watercolor. Big globs of snow stuck to the bushes, melting to form lakes in the yard.

By midday most of the trees were bare of snow. The ground still carried a deceptive layer of white. But when I stepped onto it, my boots sank into puddles of water underneath. And even that remaining snow was fast giving way to bare dirt and flattened grass.

How fleeting beauty can be! How important to revel in it when it appears, because we never know how long it might stay. I should have hiked through the snow last night, soaking in the purity of it, laughing like a child as it blew into my face. Perhaps I would have been tired this morning, but it would have been worth it. Rejoice in the moment; it is a blessing from above.

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