Apr 072011

It seemed back in mid-March we were well on our way to spring – beautiful sunshine, warm weather and the return of thunderstorms, some of which were quite violent. I can’t recall a single spring where we had three instances of hail in a ten day time period.

And then the inevitable setback – cold and snow. Yuck. Now don’t get me wrong, I LIKE cold and snow – in the winter. But this has been a pretty snowy and cold winter, and while I love the quiet stillness, I am ready for spring and growth and action.

Joyfully, the last couple of days have turned back to spring and I’m hoping this time the season will stick with us a bit longer – at least until summer!

While the understory plants have slowly been greening (way too much multiflora rose), not much has been happening with the larger trees – until three days ago. On Monday we had a really warm day as a result of an advancing cold front. Here in Ohio, we get these strong  wind currents that bring up moisture and warmer weather from the south. These are the winds that bring the returning migratory birds. Also, they are often the precursors to some terrifically violent thunderstorms with a temperature drop immediately following. Anyway,  it must have been something in the wind – the warmth – that triggered some of the first large tree leaf breaks –  apart from the very early willows. I love seeing the trees aglow with that yellow-green aura that can only be termed “spring green”.

In town along the Hocking River, the cherry trees are in blossom. It’s a beautiful sight. Also, the other town trees have been flowering – a number of magnolias are just starting the show. Out here in the rural areas, the trees seem ready to flower, but haven’t done so yet. Given the warmer weather forecast through the next week, we’re bound to see some blooming soon. The forsythias are nearly past their peak. And I’m wondering how much longer we’ll have the daffodils and jonquils.

My perennial herbs and flowers are coming back strongly, although some of my thyme might have to be replaced this year. It looks as though this might be the weekend to divide and replant hostas.

Last weekend, in addition to doing some much needed landscape maintenance, we took a trip around the place to clean out and spruce up the multitude of bird nesting boxes that we’ve installed over the years. We can hardly wait for the returning purple martins and tree swallows. The bluebirds should be looking to build nests too, and in the old nest boxes we found remnants of wren and chickadee nests in addition to the others. The local permanent population of Canadian geese have broken up their winter flocks and are pairing up and building nests. Mornings are filled with the sound of the wild turkeys gobbling and drumming – staking out their territories. I have also noticed a considerable uptick in the territorial “drumming” of the various woodpeckers species.

The warmer evenings are also encouraging our local amphibians in singing their songs of love: spring peepers, pickerel frogs and Eastern American toads all fill the void of silence so predominant in winter.

Observing nature in all her beauty, wonder, fierceness and power is an intimate part of being a witch. It’s part of the connectedness thing. For me, spirituality is rooted in connectedness and a big part of that is about paying attention. I’m truly grateful to live in a fairly rural area with such an abundance of plants and critters.

Oh, and before I forget, we also  found our first tick.

Yep, it’s Spring!