Sunday, March 26, 2017

Almost, but not quite! #phenology

When I first looked out the window this morning, I thought perhaps the buds had burst on the red maple in front of the house. A closer look shows they've swollen, last night's rain probably helped, but haven't quite burst yet.

red maple buds getting ready to burst
red maple buds getting ready to burst
Photo by J. Harrington

The oak tree buds are still Winter-tight and the forsythia and lilacs act as though they've never even hear of something called Spring. Although this year's NPN Leaf Index is running about three weeks ahead of "normal," it's still only reached southern Iowa. With more than a week's worth of warmer (50s), sunny weather ahead, I'm expecting maple bud burst late this week, if not before. Time (actually, past time) to get out and see who, in addition to skunk cabbage, is starting to pop out of the ground as March winds down.

April is the month that Minnesota begins to enjoy what many of us would consider "real Spring." Chipmunks will be back from hibernation. Tree frogs, peepers etc. will be making evening's raucous with their ruckus. And pasque flower time will have arrived. I fear the pocket gophers got the pasque flowers I planted a couple of years ago. We'll see soon enough.

With Spring In Our Flesh


By Don Welch


With spring in our flesh
the cranes come back,
funneling into a north
cold and black.

And we go out to them,
go out into the town,
welcoming them with shouts,
asking them down.

The winter flies away
when the cranes cross.
It falls into the north,
homeward and lost.

Let no one call it back
when the cranes fly,
silver birds, red-capped,
down the long sky.

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