Turn, Turn, Turn

This morning I woke up at 6 a.m., which is like sleeping in for me. As my eyes adjusted to the dark of the room, I noted the window shade seemed to glow. I looked outside, and the tree line to the east was lit up by the sun just starting to rise. The delicate blue of the sky made the bare trees stand out. The time of official sunrise is 6:38, but to see the sky lighting up so early was enough for me. Small signs of seasonal change like this are beginning to show everywhere I turn.

On Monday, we had a snow storm that I wasn’t really expecting. I knew it was going to snow, but this snow lasted all day and was quite a substantial weather event. When I went out in it, white lined every tree branch. It was spectacular even under the dull gray sky, which was still sorting itself out. Flurries continued to fall. I stood near the inky black pond and watched birds flit about the stream in the thick brush. I heard a cardinal’s clear call that was so loud it suddenly didn’t feel like deep winter anymore.

I felt this newness again while walking with my son yesterday afternoon. The snow was deep as we lumbered through the trails by the river. You can tell the snow is melting by its texture; it is heavy and wet. We noticed snow fleas gathering in the deep foot prints on the trail. The deeper the print the more snow fleas there were. At the top of the ridge, I saw an ellipse of melt in the middle of an iced over vernal pool.

As we descended the ridge, I could see the river through the trees. Last week it was a vast plain of snowy white ice all the way out to the lighthouse. A few days ago, it was thick with huge chunks of ice floating in the tides. On this day, I could see a wide swath of water– it looked so free! Is it my desire for spring to come that assigns this joy to the river? Or is the river truly happy? Maybe it’s a bit of both.

Notes:

Wolverines are fascinating. An article in the Times led me to Peter Mather’s website.

If you live locally, you should totally sign up for the DEC’s Hudson River Almanac, which is a weekly natural history newsletter. It’s thorough yet personable– a real community effort, written by dedicated people who love observing nature. Focused on the Hudson River from the Adirondacks to NYC and complied and edited by naturalist Tom Lake, it’s truly a labor of love. You’ll hear about otters and seals, eagles and fish, and lots of birds. And you can send in your own observations!

I am so fascinated by stories in which human outposts have been hit by disaster and begin to be overgrown. After two huge earthquakes, Christchurch, NZ was devastated and is now being reclaimed by the wetlands it once was. This is a cool interactive article with drone footage.

  1. Beautiful pictures! I had never heard of snow fleas before so I found an interesting article about them online. Thanks for adding to my understanding of the natural world. It’s good to know their presence is an indication of ecological health. Spring seems to be around the corner!

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