Monday, February 1, 2016

In between winter and spring

By Beth Sullivan
Supposedly we are in the middle of winter. The mid-portion of January often boasts the coldest temperatures of the year. We have had some cold, for sure, and our big snowstorm last week, but already the grass is showing again and the last days have been warm. The Blizzard is a memory.
A little winter doesn't deter most of us from enjoying the trails in White Cedar Preserve.

A walk in the woods last week was quite a surprise. The wetlands were not frozen. Standing water filled holes among rocks and hummocks of moss. Spikes of Skunk cabbage broke through patches of snow . Fringes of ice-rimmed pools had swirls of bright green watercress breaking the surface.
In Fennerswood Preserve, delicate patterns appear in the melting ice.

The first spikes of Skunk Cabbage have broken through the snow at Parker Brothers Preserve.

A Cardinal sang its spring song while White Throated Sparrows rustled in the underbrush.

Bits of winter, bits of spring

I don’t believe in letting one’s guard down. Winer can still turn around and wallop us. But why not appreciate the little tease we are experiencing. What we discover this week during the thaw time, might be just enough to tide us over during the next storm or deep freeze. Each day we advance means winter loosens its hold a bit more and the effect of a storm melt away faster.
Let's hope the Groundhog doesn't see its shadow at Knox Preserve.

Pussywillows are already in bud and don't seem to mind the snow.

At Paffard Woods, someone just had a mid-hibernation snack.

So here is a quick challenge. Take some time this week to find those bits. Notice the contrast between winter and spring. Find the green in the snow. The soft in the hard. The melt in the freeze. The bird song in the winter stillness.
Sphagum moss in the wetlands is already soft and green.

Appreciate every little bit we get, because it gets us closer to the day when winter will let go and spring will win out and take over!
At Stony Brook Preserve,  the snow has melted on a sunny rock face, but icicles still hang on.

Without the snow cover at Knox Preserve, the rodent tunnels are easy to spot.

Photographs by Beth Sullivan.

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