Sunday, February 26, 2012

It Might As Well Be Spring

Although the morning was cold -- around 10 above zero when I came down for breakfast -- the sun shone strong today from a clear blue sky.  We're only about 3 weeks from the vernal equinox, but it seems very strange to be looking forward to spring when we haven't yet had much of a winter.  That heavy snowstorm we were promised on Thursday and Friday turned out to be nothing but a dusting that's long gone by now, as this photo I took this morning on Bog Meadow Nature Trail reveals.  Not a trace of snow remains.

There was some new ice, however, in the tiny stream that follows the trail.  The ice's crinkly texture made an interesting foil for the Skunk Cabbage now opening its swelling red-mottled spathes at the edges of the stream.  The first flower of spring, the earliest I've ever found it.

Another sure sign of spring is the deeper reddening of the Red Osier Dogwood's branches, in radiant array today against that sapphire sky.

The willow's branches are almost as yellow now as the dogwood's branches are red, making for quite a colorful display in the early spring marsh.

I even found a few willow buds, sleek packets of silky gray,  getting ready to puff out into fluffy catkins.

Not a sign of spring, but a reminder of the glories the summer will bring: this dried pod of a Canada Lily has a beauty all its own,  its neatly divided parts still held together by a delicate crochet-work of fine threads.

The day remained so gloriously dazzling, I convinced my husband to come out for a walk around Moreau Lake after lunch, promising him that I wouldn't insist on stopping every five minutes to take a photo.  I did manage to snap a few shots on the run, however, such as this view of the melting ice along the eastern shore.  No more ice fishing this year.

The back bay of the lake is almost completely open now, its sparkling water partaking of the color of the sky.

Before the ice melted along the northern shore, it looks like it gave quite a shove to the sand along the beach, pushing up a snaky ridge like none I have seen before.  I wonder if this is the result of those 50-mile-per-hour winds we had yesterday, driving a still-thick ice sheet hard against the shore.

Along the swimming beach, where shallow water lies over clean sand,  I could see through that crystal-clear water to these trails traced on the lake bottom.  I've heard that they're made by snails, but I've never seen a snail in the process of making one.  They almost look like someone is drawing letters, leaving us a secret message.  Maybe the snails are just doing a merry dance to celebrate spring, now that the ice has receded and the sun is pouring its warming rays directly on the sand beneath the water.

On the way home from the lake, I saw a robin running across a lawn.  We used to think that sighting a robin was a sure sign of spring, but now we occasionally see robins all winter, even winters that are cold and snowy.   So seeing this one this early, after a remarkably warm and snowless winter, was hardly a surprise.  But nevertheless, it did give me a little jolt of joy.


greentangle said...

We just had what I'd call our first winter storm yesterday.

Love the Skunk Cabbage of course, and the Canada Lily is a lovely shot also.

June said...

Isn't the different, warmer color of the sun just glorious???
The snail trails make my heart beat a little faster, cute little things . . . and the ridge along the shore...! The things that Nature does when we aren't looking.

threecollie said...

We have had robins all winter too, but they affect me the same way. There are a couple of them hanging around the yard and hearing them chirp is simply a delight. Oddly our dogwoods and willows aren't showing a thing yet.

Jacqueline Donnelly said...

Nice to hear from you, greentangle. We are having our first snowstorm since October, here on the 29th of February, a rare day indeed! My readers should click on greentangle's name to see the glorious landscape he lives among out in Yellowstone.

Yes indeed, June, the sun is definitely warmer and brighter than it was a few weeks ago. Although we are finally having some snow today, that higher sun will promptly melt it, I am sure.

I think I am older than you, threecollie, but I bet you remember when we did not see robins all winter. But even our winter robins do behave differently in springtime, with solitary individuals running around in the grass seeking worms, rather than whole flocks of them feeding together in berry bushes and sumac thickets.

Nate said...

I have enjoyed reading your posts for quite a while - really great photos and stories.

I have a blog with some sketches and drawings please look at this post

It seems that we were noticing the same color in a winter wetland.