Signs of Spring in the Gray of Winter

The Pacific Northwest isn’t the worst place to spend the winter. So far in Edmonds it has snowed only once, and it melted the next day. In the past month, the temperature hasn’t dropped below freezing more than a handful of times.

But it’s cloudy and gray. This is our rainy season–usually not much hard rain, but lots and lots of drizzle. By February, we’re getting tired of this dull, gray world. We stay inside too much. We worry that we’re getting fat.

When, we wonder, will this dull gray winter end? Where is color? Where’s the sun?

There are signs of hope, though.

Little shoots promising the return of spring. Hardy primroses that someone planted before I bought this house fifteen years ago.

Tulips breaking through.

Brave little crocuses.

We had a sunny day or two in January. Cute clouds that almost made you laugh.

Dog owners take their dogs out no matter the weather, but these fluffy pups looked especially festive on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

Blue skies called us to the beach.

Most of the boats at the marina stayed tied up at their docks,

their bare masts

reflecting in the cold water.

One lone sailboat was out, though, still sailing as the sun prepared to set, perhaps forgetting how short the days are in January.

This couple in jackets and warm hats seemed toΒ  be enjoying a winter’s picnic and a beautiful view of the Olympic Mountains.

If the short, gray days are getting you down, have heart. Spring is coming. Signs of it are everywhere.

And if you live in the Pacific Northwest, spring may be early. A serious birdwatcher says the geese on their way to the Arctic are two weeks early this year.


About Nicki Chen

About Nicki Chen Nicki Chen is a writer living in Edmonds, WA. Her first novel, Tiger Tail Soup, is set in China during the Japanese invasion and occupation, 1937-1945. She's working on a second novel set in Vanuatu, a South Pacific nation where she and her late husband lived in the early '90s.
Edmonds, photography, seasons, winter , ,


  1. Sounds like it has been dreary in your part of the world, Nicki. Sometimes the world is just grey like that. The cloudy and wet weather probably is a reason why it hasn’t been too cold over there. There is always plenty to do indoors, such as reading, writing or really just browsing online πŸ™‚ Here in Australia summer is still in full swing, and I’m not complaining about the warmth we are having πŸ™‚

    • The Pacific Ocean moderates our weather, so it’s not as cold in the winter here as it is farther inland. Today the sky is blue again. It’s still cool, but I love the beauty of a sunny day. Enjoy your Australian summer.

  2. Your photographs are beautiful, Nicki. We’ve had a wet winter. Thankfully with the exception of one storm, it’s been all rain. This morning I went out to get the paper at 5:00 a.m. and it was 67 degrees. It had rained overnight and the air was so tropical. Spring can’t be too far off, right?

  3. So nice to see your photos, Nicki. So lovely. And so nice to see dry ground and sun.

    We just got more snow. I’m off to shovel.

  4. Lovely photos and true weather observations.

  5. I hope we have an early spring. The winter has been brutally cold here this year. Today it’s pouring and the temperatures are seasonal (upper 30s) with some hope of getting higher. Those first signs of spring are so wonderful. Someone once told me that spring flowers are so loud and gaudy because we need the color after the winter! I welcome them but none here yet. Your pictures are wonderful. Love the clouds.

    • I, too, hope you’ll have an early spring. Once it comes, I’m sure your yard will be beautiful. I wonder if the wintertime lack of color is why I’ve been gaining weight. Here’s hoping that blue skies and colorful spring flowers will swallow up my craving for cake and cookies.

  6. I am jealous of your hardy primroses! The slugs and snails always get mine, and they never last more than a year.

    Can we trade weather? We are in desperate need of your rain again!

    • On a cold rainy day, I wouldn’t mind trading weather. A weather meld is tempting. Too perfect might be boring, though.

      Our forest are famous for slugs, and I’ve had slugs and snails in other houses, but I can’t remember seeing any here. We have plenty of squirrels, though. I guess my bulbs are too deep for them.

  7. Great collection of shots, Nicki.
    Signs of Spring are smile-inducing after the cold gray of winter.

    • Since I wrote this, I’ve come upon other wonderfully smile-inducing signs of spring–daffodils, giant soap bubbles being blown over the bay, and lots of blue sky. I’ll keep gathering signs of spring until the real thing arrives.

  8. I love the pictures! Especially the one of the couple from the back!

    Here some flowers are starting to bloom too. I will have to take pictures of the first apricot blossoms downstairs. The magnolia trees are budding, and also a bush with round white flowers whose name I don’t know.

  9. Lovely photos, Nicki. Spring is on the way and I’m ready! 36 more days, not that I’m counting. πŸ˜‰

  10. Lovely piece, Nicki…you’ve given me hope as my knees still get cold needing a blanket to keep warm at my desk.

    • I like the blue skies, but I see on my phone’s weather report that we may have snow on Sunday. I trust it would be only a minor, short-lived event, though. Anyway, spring is will be here before too long.

  11. Teresa

    Text is out of sync with pics. I like the masts and sky.

  12. Nicki,lovely to see signs of Spring your way! Beautiful photos and I’m smiling at the couple all wrapped up on the bench enjoying the view! πŸ˜€

    • That couple at the picnic table is my favorite picture. The weather got a little cooler this week, but my crocuses are growing bigger and we’ve had some blue skies. I’m grateful for the little signs of spring that help see us through this last month of winter.


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