This endless winter seems to be finally nearing its end. We've had several beautiful almost-spring days in a row; even today, which was supposed to be drizzly, has been relatively pleasant.
At last, birds are singing in the morning, and the Mockingbird and his mate have apparently staked out their territory. I saw him sitting on a high wire pouring out his usual torrent of mixed-up birdsong, effortlessly moving from the Cardinal to the Robin's song, followed by a few scraps of other birds' songs that weren't quite recognizable. The Mockingbird is the only bird I know of in this area that actually sings in the middle of the night. I've often heard him at 1 or 2 a.m. during the breeding season.
Another morning when we were walking the dog we heard, far overhead, the sounds of Canada Geese honking. No, they weren't the usual non-migrating New Jersey geese just going from one office park to another. These were serious geese. There were two big long lines of them, high above, which gradually managed to come together and start forming the requisite V. They were clearly headed north and in it for the long haul.
The snow has all melted except for a few lumps here and there where the plows had piled it up; now it has changed into that crunchy icy stuff, flecked with black. (I always wonder where the black comes from. The road? The air? The snow itself?).
I've seen buds on one or two of the early shrubs and trees. We even managed to sit outside on our deck on a couple of afternoons when the temperatures hovered around 60 degrees.
But the grass is still brown and the trees are still bare and the next four days are supposed to be chilly and rainy. We are still stuck in the house. That is one form of "cabin fever" from which we are suffering.
The other form of cabin fever we have is that urge to get away from it all and go to our cabin in the Adirondacks. Unfortunately spring up there is 2-3 weeks behind New Jersey. I'm sure there is still plenty of snow on the ground and it will still be cold enough at night to freeze pipes for a few weeks yet, so we are still stuck in New Jersey for another month or so.
In the meantime, my days are filled with errands and visits to my mother in the nursing home, where she is still getting rehabilitation. It's amazing how the days fly by when they are all so similar.
Unfortunately, my mother seems to be developing dementia as time goes by. At first I thought it was due to her lung condition, but as it turns out her blood gas levels are all normal, so it isn't due to that. Interestingly, I just read an article about nicotine containing compounds that may actually be beneficial in preventing or mitigating Alzheimer's Disease. There are a number of recent studies that back up this possible connection, although of course it is far from a cure.
My mother, a lifelong smoker, smoked until she went into the hospital. She has now been nicotine-free for over a month and her congition has declined markedly. I realize it could be the result of her recent illness, stress, or hospitalization, but I am wondering if she would have done better if she'd had the nicotine patch as she did the last time she was hospitalized. I wish I had asked for it, in retrospect. Hindsight is always 20-20, as the saying goes.
I hope to talk to the doctor about her condition and see if Aricept or another drug might have the same beneficial effects without her having to go on the nicotine patch. Of course, I know that it may be too late to bring her back to the way she was, and I may need to accept that and just enjoy the time we have left together in whatever condition she may be in.
Thinking of the migrating birds, and my mother's long life, now closing in on its end, reminds me of the Sandy Denny song, "Who Knows Where the Time Goes." I first knew this song as it was sung by Judy Collins, and her bell-like voice is just unmatched by anyone. So I will post a video of her singing the song in concert in 2000.