Tuesday, February 27, 2018

In Just -- Mud Season #phenology

Sometimes, during a January thaw, we get a little melting on our township gravel road. Yesterday, and again today, and probably for at least the first half of next month (March) we'll be enjoying lots of melting on and in our road. The plows don't consistently clear snowfalls down to the roads surface, so there's compacted snow cover over large stretches of road. Our entire driveway is in the same condition. However, there are large patches and stretches where the plows edge did reach the road's surface. As the sun reaches higher and the rays get warmer and longer, the dirt absorbs warmth and melts the snow pack edges. No such progression occurs in the driveway.

a mudluscious road
a mudluscious road
Photo by J. Harrington

When we walked the dogs yesterday and today, we left human and canine tracks in the softened, wet, muddy road surface. If the township board can convince the residents at the annual meeting, gravel roads may become a thing of the past, at least in our township. Although we won't miss the Summer's dust, Spring's mud season has been part of our lives for about a quarter of a century now. It is, literally, a rite of (seasonal) passage, that goes with the Northern migration of juncos (we saw a large flock in the wood lot this morning) and the return of song birds. If we didn't get to enjoy it, we'd miss it, just as we miss the little lame balloon man of our childhood.

We've seen reports that sandhill cranes have started their Spring migration and look forward to reporting local sightings in two or three weeks. If we dodge Spring blizzards, by then there may be enough open ground for cranes to forage. If not, they'll no doubt stage South of us until the melt and the mud are back. March madness, melting, mud and migrations! It's that time of year again.

                     [in Just-]

in Just-
spring          when the world is mud-
luscious the little
lame balloonman

whistles          far          and wee

and eddieandbill come
running from marbles and
piracies and it's

when the world is puddle-wonderful

the queer
old balloonman whistles
far          and             wee
and bettyandisbel come dancing

from hop-scotch and jump-rope and




balloonMan          whistles

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