Weather, Worms and Killdeer: The REAL Signs of Spring

I grew up in a little college town on the central coast of California.  They have two seasons in California: sunny and cloudy.  You never needed to check the weather forecast, because it was usually pretty much the same. 
In 1996, the company I worked for moved me to Rochester, New York.  I arrived in early spring, which was chilly and damp.  It was the perfect time of year for me to get introduced to a four-season climate.  Every single day of that first year was incredible.  I fell in love with all four seasons (although shoveling my driveway after the first snowstorm was pretty tough; I didn’t know that there was a difference between a snow shovel and a regular shovel).  The seasons arrived with the flip of a switch.  One day it was fall, the next it was winter.  The change from winter to spring was even more dramatic, as spring arrived with the first day of sunshine; the same day that the flowers and daffodils exploded out of the ground.   I fell in love with the local TV weatherman, and became a real weather junkie.  I swore I’d never give up living in a four-season climate.
I moved to Boise for a job change in 2002; glad to be back in the West, closer to family, good yogurt, and boysenberries.  But the thing I missed the most was the lush green landscape of my little house in the woods.  This part of the country is high desert; we’re dry and hot, or dry and cold.  We’re blessed with long hot summers and cold winters separated by damp springs and spectacular fall seasons.  After living with 100 inches of snow each winter in New York, the measly 12-20 inches of snow a season we get here is fantastic.  
Last week, we had beautiful clear sunny skies and cold, cold temperatures.  By yesterday, the skies were dreak and dreary, with scattered rain. To be honest, I’ve been feeling a little dreak and dreary myself, lately.   I know spring is coming, but it’s only because the calendar says so (or so I thought). It was above freezing at oh-dark-hundred this morning when the dogs and I went out for our morning walk.  Overnight, the worms had crawled out of the lawns to escape being drowned by all the rain.  The ground is thawing, I realized, and I stepped carefully to avoid stepping on literally hundreds of thousands of worms.  Wow, spring really is on its way; the only thing missing is the call of the killdeer.  Killdeer are a type of plover that nest on the ground, and have a loud, haunting cry that can be heard night and day, from a long ways off.  Sure enough, less than an hour later, it was still dark when I heard the first killdeer call of the season.  Spring is here. 
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