I’m sitting at my desk, listening to the snow melt from our front deck. Every once in awhile a crash resounds as a chunk of ice or snow hits the ground. The sun is shining and it’s WARM – well warm by our standards here in Wisconsin – forty-one degrees. I can begin to see the tops of the rose cones we used to cover our small trees. Flocks of geese heading over are increasing. The birdbath in the back yard is partially uncovered, but the one in front is still buried. The grip of winter is sliding from my soul.
Yesterday gave us a hint of spring. Shoppers were out in mass sans gloves, hats or winter coats. Small puddles of water grew into small ponds. People’s steps were lighter, smiles brighter as spring fever hit with a vengeance. The air temperature was a balmy thirty-two degrees, but the sun’s rays were intense.
I bought a bird book several years ago called “For the Birds.” The author, Laura Erickson, wrote a daily journal about birds and nature. At the bottom of each page are lines for the reader to write his/her own notes. And, yes, I’ve written notes. And, yes, I am a bird geek.
Today, with the snow slowly disappearing, I got the urge to take the book down from the shelf and see when our birds started arriving in the past. I don’t remember why, but didn’t make too many notes from 2013. But I made plenty in 2012 when we had a very early spring. On the 11th of March of that year, spring bulbs were creeping up. The red-winged blackbirds and bluebirds arrived. Cranes were flying over heading to the nature reserve not far from our home. It was a busy day.
I’ve always wondered how birds know when to start their migration home. How do they know if there is still too much snow and no food to eat? Do they send out a scouting party? Well, if they do, the message they will send back to their families should be, “Let’s just stay where it’s warm for a bit. They’re not ready for us, yet.”
So, based on my notes, I will start listening with excitement for our birds over the next few days and weeks. Even though we will surely get more snow, the end of winter is near. I’m going to head out for my first run of the season. (It will be short, as I’m not one of those that runs all year round.) Then I’ll chip away at the ice in our driveway and simply enjoy our warm, wonderful day. I’m much happier than last week. Enjoy.