Winter’s Last Stand?

March 6, 2015 birds 008

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Is it too early to hope we’ve seen the last of frozen marshes and piles of freshly shoveled snow?  The optimist in my heart wants this breath of spring to last; the daffodils to open, fruit trees to bloom, and weather to settle into comfortably warm days and nights.  Long experience living in this region tells me it is too early to relax winter’s vigilance.  We’ve had snow here into April, and Easter often dawns wet and cold.

But Saturday eventually warmed up a little by late afternoon.  It was a sunny day, if windy; and I was convinced, after several promptings, to join my partner in a drive to see what we could see.

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March 6, 2015 birds 034

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We headed towards Jamestown on the Parkway.  There seemed nothing new to see.  No nesting eagles; no budding trees.  Only puddles, snow piles, bare trees, and icy marshes presented themselves to my winter jaded eyes.  I was having difficulty finding the beauty of the day.

But we persevered, and had gotten onto Jamestown Island when a pair of geese, standing near the shore, inspired me to leave the warmth of our car.

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March 6, 2015 birds 002

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As I scampered down the bank, avoiding mud and ice as much as I was able, they began paddling out into the creek.  There were no clear shots through the underbrush and trees.  And there was no dry path to the water’s edge.

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March 6, 2015 birds 003

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But as I was almost giving up, I spotted a Great Blue Heron wading in the shallows on the other side.

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March 6, 2015 birds 006

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After one photo he saw me, too; and I got off on more shot as he took wing.

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March 6, 2015 birds 012

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At least we had found where the birds were sheltering.  And we found bright swollen buds on a few trees here and there, even as their roots disappeared under a stubborn layer of briny ice.

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March 6, 2015 birds 030

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It hasn’t dropped below freezing here for nearly three days now.  Songbirds fill our garden, and we hear the hoots of owls and honks of geese and urgent calls of hawks circling overhead.

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March 6, 2015 birds 019

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More daffodils break through the soil each day to start their climb towards the sun.

Have you noticed that seasons never change with any real clarity?  Even though we turn the page on our calendar, and the Weather Channel actors declare “Meteorological Spring,” (a term I never heard until a few weeks ago); the actual melting of one season into the other remain a bit fuzzy.

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March 6, 2015 birds 014

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There is always the in-between time of see-sawing back and forth from warm to cold to hot to chill before we settle back into the new routines.

Yet every small step towards spring brings joy. 

The pond behind our house has nearly thawed.  The piles of snow beside our drive are nearly melted.  We saw a robin pluck a living, wiggling worm out of the front lawn this morning.  Sunshine pours in through the windows, and I found freshly grown sprouts and leaves on the catmint when I cut it back this morning.

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March 6, 2015 birds 029

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We hope this melt is the last of the season, and that we can get on with the business of welcoming spring.

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March 6, 2015 birds 007

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“Real” astronomical spring won’t arrive until March 20, late next week.  Friends in Oregon post that they are a full month ahead and enjoying unusually warm, strangely dry weather for March.

We are watching the sky, the birds, the trees and The Weather Channel, hoping we have already survived winter’s last blast for this year.  I’m still a little skeptical….

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March 6, 2015 birds 020

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Woodland Gnome 2015

 

About woodlandgnome

Lifelong teacher and gardener.

12 responses to “Winter’s Last Stand?

  1. Lovely to see some signs of Spring warmth in your photos, WG. Let’s hope it really is the end of that cold and snowy Winter!

  2. As one of those “friends in Oregon”… our chatter here is a mix:
    excitement about the joys of Spring splendor…
    and worry about what being a month ahead of schedule could mean in terms of nature’s cycles.

    All the pink trees are in full glory! Only the willows seem to be on schedule.

    Jane

  3. What a beautiful part of the world you live in, WG. Looks so elegant and peaceful and full of nature with hardly any people around.
    Pleased to say we seem to have one day of spring, then one of winter, before they do their swap again. I’m sure it won’t bel ong before Winter will sleep for another nine months and Spring will open her arms and bath us with all her beauty.

    • How poetic, Hugh 😉 This set of photos were all taken in a National Park 😉 This is on Jamestown Island, near the working archeological site of that first somewhat successful group from the Virginia Company of London, largely sponsored by Sir Francis. It is a bit off the beaten track. But Williamsburg is a bit quieter and in many ways more elegant than other parts of modern Virginia. We edit by where we point the camera, don’t we? My partner was waiting in a vast parking lot just behind where i was shooting the geese and herons 😉 Best wishes for a warm day and a settled spring, Hugh 😉 Giant hugs, WG

  4. Two steps forward, one step back. The tease of spring. We look for any signs we can find. I noted yesterday that the black birch trees have a hint of russet that wasn’t there last week. It is coming!

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