Subtle spring

Today, inspired by an apparent and, I hope, lasting thaw, I ventured out into my yard to hunt for any signs of spring. Most years, the first week of March is when we mow the meadow, cut back the buddleia, and prepare the vegetable patch for sowing peas and spinach. The snowdrops are in bloom, as well as the early crocuses, and the trees are budding.

Not so this year. I don’t think our tractor can handle mowing this just yet:

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If I look closely, though, the signs are here. For example, the budding catkins on the silver birch:

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                        …and the pool of green beside the river birch:

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A little purpling along the thorny blackberry canes indicates some liveliness has begun.

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At the foot of the downspout–water! Instead of ice!

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Then, the faint fuzz at the branch-tips of the staghorn sumac, a little hard to see,
but easy to sense if you touch them.

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Unsightly, but still a sign of spring: litter by the road as the piles of dirty snow melt off. This brush of some kind has been twisted into an “M” by forces like plows and ice.

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But the most cheering photograph, for me, is this one–taken by poet and publisher Michael Czarnecki, whose photos are available here. The photo below is of the first tapping of maple sap from his trees in New York state.

photo Michael Czarnecki, http://foothillspublishing.com

photo Michael Czarnecki,
http://foothillspublishing.com

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