Saturday, March 19, 2016

Do Spring's weather spasms affect phenology?

skunk cabbage, April 2015
skunk cabbage, April 2015
Photo by J. Harrington

Even though tomorrow is the Vernal Equinox, I may yet this year get pictures of skunk cabbage poking through snow. This is what it looked like in the second week of April last year with the snow clearly gone. After we've already reached warm, Spring temperatures this year, admittedly unseasonable, our current "setback" into seasonal temperatures is very disappointing and the continuing cloud cover is exasperating. My memory may be faulty, it often is, but I remember Spring in my childhood days being a more consistent, less spastic progression than I've experienced during my adulthood in Minnesota.

the "wet spot" yesterday
the "wet spot" yesterday
Photo by J. Harrington

No photos of the rivers, but we'll report that local waters are running bank-full or slightly in spate. (Is that like "sort of unique?"). The back yard "wet spot" is full of water that, from day to day, may or may not be ice covered and is, on a good year, visited by woodies or mallards or Canada geese. Many of the waterfowl seen a week ago seem to have continued north, following open water emergence and the retreat of ice lines. Some, including tundra swans, appear to have settled in for Spring and Summer. The back yard pocket gopher(s) are becoming active again. Would that I had a magic wand to attend to them! Today's poem seems to nicely capture the restlessness of the season.

Onset

By Kim Addonizio

Watching that frenzy of insects above the bush of white flowers,   
bush I see everywhere on hill after hill, all I can think of   
is how terrifying spring is, in its tireless, mindless replications.   
Everywhere emergence: seed case, chrysalis, uterus, endless manufacturing.
And the wrapped stacks of Styrofoam cups in the grocery, lately
I can’t stand them, the shelves of canned beans and soups, freezers   
of identical dinners; then the snowflake-diamond-snowflake of the rug
beneath my chair, rows of books turning their backs,
even my two feet, how they mirror each other oppresses me,
the way they fit so perfectly together, how I can nestle one big toe into the other
like little continents that have drifted; my God the unity of everything,
my hands and eyes, yours; doesn’t that frighten you sometimes, remembering
the pleasure of nakedness in fresh sheets, all the lovers there before you,
beside you, crowding you out? And the scouring griefs,
don’t look at them all or they’ll kill you, you can barely encompass your own;
I’m saying I know all about you, whoever you are, it’s spring   
and it’s starting again, the longing that begins, and begins, and begins.


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