I unzipped my coat and pulled off my hat. Though the thermometer out the kitchen window read 20 degrees, the sun was strong.
Once the animals were fed and the barn mucked out, I went back to the house and put on the teapot. I pulled out the tin of mint leaves I harvested from my garden and dried last year. As the water boiled I brought Minnie up from the basement and opened the back door. She ran out into the sunshine.
Then I joined her.
I sat on the cold slate of the back porch, my bare hands wrapped around my teacup, my boots resting on the snow covering my garden. I breathed in the minty steam from my cup and out of the corner of my eye I saw the mint, growing in a bunch next to the steps. The squared red-tinged stem and green textured leaves, a few starting to sprout small purple flowers.
The tea still had that gentle freshness that I’d never tasted in mint tea from the store.
When I closed my eyes I felt Minnie rub up against my back as she does when we meet on the back porch three seasons of the year. The snow under my boots melted and the garden bloomed around me. Bees gathered pollen on their legs from the coneflowers, wasps drank from the birdbath and flies hummed around the mint.
The sun on my face, I opened my eyes to the sound of a red-winged blackbird trilling from the high thin branches of the big old birch. The snow was back under my boots and I listened and watched as the blackbird made a series of sounds I’d never heard before.
I wondered who he was talking to, what he was saying, and what kind of response he was receiving.
As I finished the last of my tea, a flock of Canada Geese circled the farm, low enough for me to see their white bellies and hear the creak of their wings. Three times they flew around each time getting closer to the neighbor’s cornfield where they would land.
“It’s coming,” I said to Minnie as she climbed up on the wicker chair that Flo slept in all last summer. Spring will soon be here.