A sure sign of spring—the kids are going crazy. Notes home from the teacher about rambunctious behavior. And no wonder, they haven’t had an outdoor recess in months!
To combat the stir crazies, I took my little fella out to tramp through the woods over the snowpack, joining the dots of deer and fox tracks. He scrambled over, and jumped off downed tree-trunks to his little heart’s content. I noticed the ever-increasing rings of melted snow at the base of trees. Squirrels chased each other round and round the trunk of the giant black walnut. A flash of ginger fur at the corner of my eye was a chipmunk scampering down the old stone wall. The red cardinal perched amongst the brown, yet swelling buds of the forsythia bush, laying claim to his territory. His no less stylish, yet more subdued partner was close by. The Carolina wren scolded from the dogwood. And the darling nuthatches, cheeped softly to each other as they, scampered, headfirst down the trunk.
The other evening as I stood on the lawn watching a silvery sunset, a pair of Canada geese honked from the pond. Not two feet from me a half-awake possum snuffled here and there amongst dried grasses poking out of the snow. He reminded me of a drunk old fella on his way home from the pub.
When I got up this morning the air was ripe with skunk love. An ardent suitor had left his calling card in the night. Perhaps it was the same stylish black and white mop top I’d had to brake for coming home the other night. He was oblivious to my presence, so hot was he on the scent of his ladylove.
Other dozy animals have not been so lucky. The turkey vultures circle over sad heaps of roadkill. So far I’ve counted raccoon, rabbit, groundhog, and squirrel. Time to look up some spring woodland recipes!
The tips of the young willow trees have turned amazing mustard yellow. The silver pussy willows are swelling out of their hard casings. At the edge of the village the sap buckets are hung on the maple trees.
Yes, everything’s still blanketed with snow, but yesterday the first crocuses opened their faces to the sun. The bees can’t be far behind.
Bee! I’m expecting you!
By Emily Dickinson
Bee! I’m expecting you!
Was saying Yesterday
To Somebody you know
That you were due—
The Frogs got Home last Week—
Are settled, and at work—
Birds, mostly back—
The Clover warm and thick—
You’ll get my Letter by
The seventeenth; Reply
Or better, be with me—
Just a Hint of Spring
Hysterical chickens squawk from the neighbors yard.
They couldn’t be more chuffed
At having laid the first eggs of the year.
A rivulet of ice-melt
Gushes from the broken gutter—
Add that to the list of post winter chores:
Cut back the dried grasses,
Rake out the flowerbeds,
Push frost-heaved garlic back into the cold earth,
Pull handfuls of chickweed from around the crocuses,
Sit in a patch of early sunlight with just a hint of warmth.
Lovely writing and a few good poems. Isn’t it crazy that we (schools) don’t let kids out to play in the cold? What a blast to the sensations it is, yet we keep them inside. I’m a teacher and it always breaks my heart that they can’t experience the weather to the fullest.
Randee, I couldn’t agree with you more. It’s not just the lack of Vitamin D and fresh air and exercise, it’s that special connection to one’s environment that’s so important for growth and perspective. Even on the coldest days I’ll bundle up and go outside to experience it.
It really drives me crazy because Weather is a big science unit in second grade, which I teach. We check the weather every day, write about it in our weather journals, and then stay inside and NOT experience it when something exciting happens. Granted, though, many of my students do not have decent winter jackets or boots. But still, a few minutes wouldn’t kill them.
Randee, when my kids were little they went to a Montessori and a Waldorf pre-school. It didn’t matter what the weather, they went outside, and no one ever got frost bite! They did all go to school with a complete change of clothes which frequently got used, especially during Mud Season.
No time for changing clothes when we’re on a curriculum pacing guide. 🙂
I hear you! Yes, it requires lots of parental involvement in the classroom. I’m very lucky my kids were able to go to our local public elementary school which has had an excellent program called Partners in Education (PIE) for the last 25 years. It involves the active participation of parents in the classroom (and outside it for those that work classroom hours). For 3 hours a week I go into my son’s combined kindergarten/first grade class and work with the kids on writing and story-telling skills. Each parent brings their area of expertize–gardening, cooking, a foreign language, art etc. Now that my oldest is in her first year of college, I really see the benefits.
Where do you live?
Outside the village of Warwick in Orange County, New York, part of the Hudson Valley.
Wow-crocuses, finally. At last-now, to keep the deer away…
Beautifully written story of spring in the country. It sounds like the makings of a of a book.
Enjoy the season!
Thanks, Susan, you too!
Lovely photos. I especially like the bright yellow crocuses. We just had another snow storm here yesterday and so to see your spring flowers brought joy to my heart. Thanks 🙂
You’re welcome, Carol. Actually, this is the only part of my garden where the snow has melted. Yesterday evening I had to head off a herd of 16 deer who came to graze under the bird feeder and were eyeing those crocuses.
Wow, 16 deer. That must have been an amazing sight!
Enjoy your crocuses.