Monday, February 20, 2017

A President's Day Phenology Presence

Yesterday we noticed a pair of trumpeter swans and a dozen or so Canada geese on a small patch of open water at the Carlos Avery WMA Sunrise River pools. They're about two to three weeks earlier than even previous early arrivals.

President's Day presence, early presents
President's Day presence, early presents
Photo by J. Harrington

As Aldo Leopold observes about March in A Sand County Almanac:
The Geese Return 
One swallow does not make a summer, but one skein of geese, cleaving the murk of a March thaw, is the spring. 
A cardinal, whistling spring to a thaw but later finding himself mistaken, can retrieve his error by resuming his winter silence.  A chipmunk, emerging for a sunbath but finding a blizzard, has only to go back to bed.  But a migrating goose, staking two hundred miles of black night on the chance of finding a hole in the lake, has no easy chance for retreat.  His arrival carries the conviction of a prophet who has burned his bridges.
Last night the temperatures stayed above freezing. Today it's raining. There's no snow cover to speak of. In February! In Minnesota!

a Spring rain on President's Day, in Minnesota?
a Spring rain on President's Day, in Minnesota?
Photo by J. Harrington


Early Spring


Rainer Maria Rilke


Harshness vanished. A sudden softness
has replaced the meadows' wintry grey.
Little rivulets of water changed
their singing accents. Tendernesses,

hesitantly, reach toward the earth
from space, and country lanes are showing
these unexpected subtle risings
that find expression in the empty trees.


Translated by Albert Ernest Flemming


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