Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Emergence and discovery #phenology

OK, we admit that the weather we've been experiencing has us grumping around the house. It's not that it's actually unpleasant outside, but neither is it actually pleasant outside. Who was it that had the hit song "Stuck in the Middle With You?" That's pretty much how we've been feeling about the weather for the past few weeks. We're really looking forward to enjoying the two or three days we get  each year when it's warm and sunny but the mosquitos, black flies and deer flies haven't yet arrived in great numbers.

British soldier lichen surrounded by snow
British soldier lichen surrounded by snow
Photo by J. Harrington

What we had failed to realize until this morning is that, with a little luck, we still have ahead of us chances to go find British soldier lichen and maybe collect a few pussy willows. But first we'd like to let a little more of the snow melt in the fields.

March is pussy willow time
March is pussy willow time
Photo by J. Harrington

We've had reports from reliable observers that numbers of Canada geese have arrived in the neighborhood and read several reports that sandhill cranes are back in the general area. We've had no real sightings of either. so that's something else to look forward to.

A third- or fourth-hand report has reached us that a gray wold was trapped near the borders of Washington and Anoka counties. We're a little surprised but not astounded, since their known territory has extended to the northern half of Pine County, which borders ours on the North. It will be very interesting to watch for additional reports, if there are any, and to see how the possible arrival of wolves affects the local coyote packs.

Instructions on Not Giving Up


Ada Limón, 1976


More than the fuchsia funnels breaking out
of the crabapple tree, more than the neighbor’s
almost obscene display of cherry limbs shoving
their cotton candy-colored blossoms to the slate
sky of Spring rains, it’s the greening of the trees
that really gets to me. When all the shock of white
and taffy, the world’s baubles and trinkets, leave
the pavement strewn with the confetti of aftermath,
the leaves come. Patient, plodding, a green skin
growing over whatever winter did to us, a return
to the strange idea of continuous living despite
the mess of us, the hurt, the empty. Fine then,
I’ll take it, the tree seems to say, a new slick leaf
unfurling like a fist to an open palm, I’ll take it all.


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