Today the trees cast their spring colors against a steel blue sky that promises thunderstorms somewhere to the not-too-distant south. The maples sport dainty flowers in untold shades of red, gold and muted orange. The yellow birch trees stand out in the crowd with their jaundiced bark and frosted, mint green crowns. The weeping willows are yellow-green (or is it green-yellow) with life. Only the oaks, always lagging somewhat behind, are just now realizing they’ll need to let go of those old brown leaves if they hope to wear new green ones this spring. If a stiff wind doesn’t tug them off, the new leaf sprouts will push them out of the way. All in good time… Though more subtle than the fall colors, the spring foliage brings new light and life to the dark landscape.
Today the turkeys put on a show in our big pasture. A big tom is strutting his stuff for a harem of hens that has encircled the main stage. His crimson head gradually turns blue as he fluffs his feathers and splays his tail like a fine, silk fan. The ladies look on with casual indifference, and rightly so. The tom will, as the old country song says, “love ‘em and leave ‘em alone.” The womenfolk will be busy hatching and raising chicks while the menfolk are off behaving like bachelors.
Today I walk through the woods. A bright flash in the distance catches my eye. When I go to investigate. I find a healthy shelf mushroom colony glinting in the sun. The Smokey Polypore fungus calls two lengths of a fallen maple trunk “home.”
Today bloodroot buds hover above the leaf-browned ground, tiny white tulips suspended on thin stems. They’re one of the early woodland bloomers, often growing in snowy spring drifts. I watch as they slowly open to the day’s warmth, revealing the sun-yellow anthers hidden in their petals.
Below the soil lies a little, dark bulb. This wildflower gets its name from the life juices flowing through that bulb. If it’s cut, it bleeds deep red. This red juice is valued for its many medicinal purposes. It’s used as an antiseptic, antibiotic, antioxidant and fungicide. It also has the power to clear up warts, tumors, and other skin conditions. The bloodroot’s power to combat infections and cleanse away impurities is reflected in its purest white bloom.
Today my waking thought was of the shooting stars I saw last night. Years ago, long before we lived on our little parcel of paradise, someone built a lean-to between the barn and granary. The low, smooth metal roof has a gradual pitch, making an ideal perch for star gazing. I huddled in my blanket and watched the stars imperceptibly spin around some hidden axis.
Today a murder of crows holds high council in the white pines towering over our rooftop. I’m not privy to their conversation, but it sounds urgent. Perhaps they discuss a threat to the rookery or try to settle a dispute. Whatever the issue, their feathers are certainly getting ruffled. Their raucous caws ring through the neighborhood.
Today I nearly hit a deer. It bolts out of the ditch right in front of me. As soon as its hooves hit the road, it starts skidding, unable to get any traction on the slick pavement. I swerve slightly and just miss its hind quarters.
Today I meander the winding, rolling country roads near our home trying to find the perfect spring photo. My photography skills are a bit sketchy. There’s no guarantee that finding the perfect shot will translate into me taking the perfect shot… but I try.
I park opposite a family farm, scanning the landscape for an eye-catching scene. Nothing! Well, almost nothing. I glance across the road as I get into my car. Some curious creatures stare at me cow-eyed, quite literally. Their ears pitch forward as their gazes fix on me in wonderment. They are perfectly still. Well, almost perfectly still. They chew their cud incessantly, contemplating my intrusion on their usual view. I snap a picture.
Today I take the scenic route home, twisting along Nottleson Road. Rolling farmland stretches across the valley on one side, while tree-decked hills tower on the other. This is terminal moraine country, where glaciers made their last stand when the world was young. They retreated, dumping all the rubbish they’d been dragging along. The woodlands are littered with boulders and stones, mostly pink granite.
Today the cardinal sings with rich fervor in the nearby spruce, his red feathers flaming against the fprest green backdrop. Two chickadees call cheerily to one another from their hidden treetop homes. A beakside down nuthatch gives several little nasal grunts as it busies itself with a corn kernel it’s wedged into the tree bark. A pileated woodpecker gives a trilled fly-by call on its way to some solitary place. These big pterodactyl-type birds seem to be very shy. Somewhere in the distance a hawk’s raspy cry pierces the atmosphere.