March came in like a lamb and a lion this year. Wednesday, the first day of March, was soft and warm, and slightly damp. I went for a walk by a stream brisk with melt off, which was uplifting to see. The last year has been so dry that to see rushing water, coursing white rapids, and raging waterfalls cheers me even though it should all still be somewhat frozen at this point. At least there’s water!
The moss is thriving—everywhere I went there were patches on craggy stumps, or on outcroppings of stone. While climbing up over a ridge of rock to see a large pond surrounded by swampland, I had to pad my way over soft springy mattresses of moss. They are a treat for the eyes as well, after so much gray and brown, the green of the mosses pops out and you can feel your eyes appreciate it immediately. I haven’t yet gotten to identifying types of moss—I am more attracted to feeling it with my palms, appreciating it visually, or simply enjoying stepping on its cushiony softness.
As I walked in a roundabout way, following deer trails, reading the pawed up spots where they were looking for something to eat, I came upon something rare. A large pair of wings and the signs of the skirmish that must have caused it. The wings seemed to belong to a small accipter—a sharp shinned hawk perhaps? The body was left pretty cleaned up, no flesh left, just some bones, but the wings were left intact. Usually one to take finds like these, I left them this time. Something in me was telling me to leave them, so I did. Who was the predator in this situation? An owl? A larger bird? Or perhaps a weak raptor fell prey to a fox? The forest is full of these mysteries.
I trailed around the soggy edges of the swamp, and a light rain began to fall. The clouds were dark, with possible threat. I spent a few minutes being still by the water’s edge listening for peepers, and sure enough, one loud fellow was singing his song. Later on at dusk, I heard a chorus of them by the pond on my land. But the very next day brought a sharp chill, and I haven’t heard them since. Now this weekend will be very cold, and we’ll start the woodstove up again. Which I look forward to because I don’t think I’m quite ready for such a quick and warm spring.