Spring has been hard to find this year. Every now and then she peeks out of her hiding place and runs across the beach or down a woodland trail in front of me. I hear her in the robin’s song, see her in the changing plumage of the gulls. She disappears quickly, however, when the temperature drops and hovers just above freezing. Even the peepers are quiet then.
A recent walk around a deserted cranberry bog on a cold and windy morning required winter jackets, wool hats and gloves and boots to keep our feet dry. The wind was relentless, and the trees groaned and sighed all around us. This was not a comforting sound since everywhere we looked were the remains of trees that had lost their battle with the wind. Some trees had fallen, roots now exposed to the air. Others had snapped at the base while still others snapped much higher up leaving raw wood torn and stripped by the fall. Some trees had been caught by others which was not always a secure looking solution.
Out in the open where the bog opened up the landscape, it was difficult to find spring unless one looked very closely. The grasses were gold, the tangled brush and vines still appeared dark and twisted in the damp morning air. Cedar trees stood as green sentries here and there but even they appeared a bit lopsided, as if the wind had pushed and pulled and gradually worn one side of them down. A pair of bluebirds flitted from cedar to cedar while crows called from atop a pine across the way.
Near the bog was a large pond that is fed by a river that is in turn fed by the sea. An old herring run has been restored there and several ospreys soared in the gray sky above the pond, no doubt looking for a fish breakfast. Some scout herring had been spotted in this area earlier in the week but no luck for us or the ospreys on this cold morning.
Pussy willows grew in various spots along the river and back along the bog’s edge. Most had already fluffed out though a few seemed to have just budded. Tree swallows soared above the creeks in the bog, low to the ground. It seemed much too chilly for the flying insects they sought but they were finding something to eat. These were the first tree swallows of the year for me and instead of feeling glad, I felt somewhat sad that they had arrived only to find winter still occupying this territory.
Spring will come out of hiding soon, I hope. I know I’m not alone in that wish. The few sunny, almost warm afternoons we’ve had have been teasers, promising us things that eventually will come true. But oh my, this wait has been a tough one.
Leaves are budding, flowers are trying to bloom, birds are singing their songs. On warm afternoons turtles take in the sun and on warmish evenings the peepers call. The chickadees and nuthatches are building nests, the swans are sitting on eggs and the herring have started to run in many areas. Ospreys, piping plovers, oystercatchers and other migrants have arrived and are setting up housekeeping in the usual areas. They’re all doing their part. Are you watching and listening, spring?
Keep an eye on the mayflowers. They are budding and should be blooming as soon as we have a spell of warm sunny days. Once they bloom, spring will no longer be able to hide. She’ll have to admit it’s time to come out and play. I for one will be happy to join her.