April 23, 2017

Is that Spring I See?

• By John F. Chisholm •

Troops of robins patrol our lawn.

The aerial acrobats — the swallows, phoebes, blue birds and eastern flycatchers — have returned as well. It’s great to see them. I don’t believe that the bugs are out yet. Being honest, I don’t miss them. Still, I worry over what the flycatchers find to eat.

Scores of birds bound for still more northern climes flock about. The snow buntings have disappeared ahead of them.

The wood ducks, ringnecks, mallards, mergansers and Canada geese are back as well. We haven’t much open water. Not yet. The waterfowl congregate on the fields, gazing yearningly at our frozen ponds, searching for anything green.

Me, too. I looked for dandelions yesterday. I found two ― not nearly enough to eat. Not yet.

Woodpeckers hammer away at our mailbox. There’s even a section of our metal roofs that resonates nicely. They’re not looking for food. They’re announcing their home turf to other woodpeckers. Sure, they never left but, you bet, I’d miss them if they weren’t here. Plus, of course, they don’t make such a racket in the dead of winter.

I saw the first peeper of spring in a marshy area northeast of the house yesterday. He started singing. That gave him away.

The pussy willows are out.

The daffodils are up. The tulips are, too. (They cheat. In ordinary circumstances, I don’t believe that they’d be up with the daffodils. But they have a nice warm spot next to the foundation under our west wall. That makes all the difference.)

Everything’s bustling.

Foxes hunt for mice right out in the open.

Our dogs track bucket loads of mud into the house. In vain I dry their feet, strand them in the entryway for an hour or kennel them outdoors. They still manage to grin at the season ― and bring lots of mud into the house.

Deer drop their customary shyness, herding in the centers of our fields, sunning themselves, cavorting and relishing the freedom from snow.

I even saw an extremely gaunt bear snuffling along the edge of the woods. I thought it was a stray dog at first. The binoculars proved just how wrong I was.

Sure, the leaves aren’t out yet. But relative humidity is low. The air is delightful, refreshing and clear. All that allows for better viewing of wildlife. Of course, mating season is all-but-here for a great many species, too. That always adds to the excitement. But it’s more than all that. I know it. You know it, too. It’s the release from snow and ice and arctic rule by a frigid thermometer. Everyone, everything feels it.

My complexion might be pasty-white from a weather-enforced five-month stint of being indoors. I feel self-conscious wearing just a T-shirt, as though I’ve forgotten something. I rub my arms wondering what it was. But, exactly like the wildlife, the plants, birds, frogs, foxes, dogs, deer and bears, I just don’t care. It’s simply too marvelous to be released at last.

I don’t know about you, but I really needed spring.

Finally, it’s here.

At last!