On a still, spring evening, if you listen carefully, you can hear the faint sound of water dripping slowly into a pail. Ploink! Ploink! The sound that maple sugar water makes as it drips from a small tap into a pail. If it's a quiet morning, you can hear the sap dripping from several yards away—Nature's water music, beating out a rhythm.
Wednesday the warmth of Spring was definitely in the air as the temperatures reached 45 degrees. Some of the wild birds felt it also, and at mid-morning I heard the first returning Sandhill cranes. Their distant calls were faint at first, but grew louder as I spotted the four cranes up high and flying straight north. What a wonderful sounds, as the big birds bugled out their Spring return.
Within a half hour came the calls of a flock of migrating Canada geese. They were much lower than the cranes, and followed each other in a single long chain of 33 honking geese.
Today is the day I've been waiting for all winter, as the cry of a Killdeer came from the pasture. Killdeer-killdeer-killdeer, the excitement he feels as he runs along the ground checking out his new home. A Red-winged blackbird has also just returned, and he puffs out his chest and boldly sings his Spring song from the top of a fence post at the edge of the cornfield. "Konk-la-ree," a spring song that everyone can relate to, a sure sign that winter is on its way out.
The day had started with the Tom turkeys strutting their stuff on the grassy hillside. A "gobble, gobble," here and a "gobble, gobble," there as the big birds fan their huge tail feathers and slowly dance up to each other. Sometimes they push their breasts out and bump each other and do a little neck wrestling.
There will be something new to see and hear each day from now on. The trick is to keep your ears open. So far, all the new birds I've seen have let me know they were there by their songs. I almost always hear a new Spring bird before I see it.
Friday was sunny and 60 degrees, a very hard day for me to stay indoors. I took advantage of the wonderful weather and found lots of things to do outside. It's the first time in four months that I was able to soak up the sun's rays on my face and arms. It was the kind of day where I didn't have to put any firewood in the stove—another incident that hasn't happened in over four months.
I've always liked the month of March because of its consistency for being inconsistent when it comes to the weather. Spring always seems to be right on track if the weather is up and down in March—or is it "in and out?" One day is 60 and sunny, the next it's 33 with freezing rain, maybe the next even colder. That's what March is, quite normally. Warm March days will melt the blanket of snow and warm the Earth below. The cool March rain will cleanse the soil and awaken tiny beings within. The root will awake and speak through the water it sends through a stalk that will respond with the swelling of a bud. This cleansing and nourishing rain is one of March's finest gifts.
Now, another strange gift of beauty is that the rain begins to freeze on all the branches and trees. The sparkling ice gives the landscape a curious silver glow.
March's fickle temperament can change by the hour. It came next in the form of fluffy, white snowflakes, drifting lazily to the ground and turning it white.
The wild birds are all feeling the fever that Spring brings, and seem to enjoy the weather, come rain, shine, snow or whatever. They are all living in the moment and they can feel the changes that March brings, moment by moment. They are a joy to watch and listen to on a day that many would consider boring. Who knows what tomorrow may bring, but one thing for sure, we'll be one day closer to Spring. So I can't apologize for March's demeanor, when I know the rain will make things greener. Let your senses awake like the root that was touched by the rain. Let the signs of Spring come to you.
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