Signs of life

The earth is still sleeping here. We have sunlight today, but it’s weak, diluted by clouds. On my walk this morning, I detoured onto the hiking path behind our neighborhood. Most of the ice is melted, and it’s not snowing today, so I was pretty sure I could walk it without killing myself. (I stuck my cell phone in my pocket, though, just in case!) I didn’t bother to dig out my MP3 player this morning, and I’m glad I didn’t. I’d have missed the bird calls.

I didn’t know the birds were coming back already. We’ve seen ducks and swans, but we always see them here. They head a little further south when the weather gets really nasty, but they’re around most of the year. The crows didn’t surprise me too much. There was another bird I could hear but couldn’t identify until I was further down the path and they flew by: redwing blackbirds. I heard woodpeckers and spotted pairs of kildares and mourning doves. I heard another one that might have been a variety of crow, but it stayed back in the woods. Grandma would have known what it was right away.

The weather guessers are saying that we’re not quite done with winter. There is still snow and sleet in the long-range forecast and still some nights in the single digits. (It seems such a short time ago that I was watching long-range forecasts and thanking God that the highest temp was below 60*!) I’d rather have it that way, really. Last year we had a warm spell followed by an ice storm, and we lost most of our peach crop and a lot of the apples. My magnolias were in bloom, and of course they refused to bloom again after the ice. It’s still cold, but there are signs of change. She who has eyes, let her see.

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