One of the oaks up the block still has a few pale brown and desiccated leaves clinging to its twigs, and this afternoon I listened to their dry rattling, and marveled at their tenacity. I saw only two of them surrender to the hastening air, and those fairly took flight, spending their last moments above ground to spin and whirl a hundred feet or more of slow decline, landing at last with a skitter along the pavement. While yet airborne, they reminded me a bit of butterflies -- and in fact I mistook the first I saw for a butterfly out of season, until it landed and became more like an oversized spider scampering to cover at the base of a fence. It reminded me that last spring I saw almost no lepidoptera other than the few nocturnal moths who fluttered about my porch light. I hope this year will be different, and there will be an abundance of butterflies.
But that will not be for a while, yet. Though the day was bright, the air remains brisk with February chill, and grows colder as night progresses. I feel it now, spilling from my open window, and smell the smoke of wood fires in it, reminding me that half the season lies ahead. I'm pleased enough by that.