Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Spring has sprung

One day there is snow, and one is going around in boots and parka.  The next day, we are in short sleeves and sandals. Temperatures are well above freezing, skies are blue, and dazzling sunlight turns everything in sight golden.

In the village, starlings are donning their warm weather plumage and putting on bright yellow beaks, and a pair of crows is building a nest in the big pine behind the little blue house. At intervals, they take a break from flying in and out of the old tree with nesting materials, sing their pleasure in the season, preen each other, do a little dancing and execute brief "flurry flights" over their territory.

In the Lanark highlands, early butterflies (Compton tortoiseshell or Nymphalis l-album) are already fluttering about, and we saw our first snake yesterday. An eastern ribbon snake (Thamnophis sauritus), it slithered quickly into a thicket when I approached, sunlight turning its head and stripes a vivid, iridescent green as it moved away.  Nearby, a pair of brown creepers (Certhia americana), is building a nest high in a brush pile and singing as they go about their work.

This is the season of greening and first things, and how sweet it is. When the first dwarf iris lifted its purple head out of the earth in a sunny, protected garden alcove a few days ago, I felt like kneeling down and kissing it.

Hallelujah, spring has sprung.

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