Wednesday, March 21, 2012
First Day of Spring 2012
What a ripper of a first day of spring we just enjoyed. With temperatures in the 70s, nature literally burst open at the seams.
I was greeted at dawn by the first flock of returning Canada geese passing low over my Waldo cottage, a good sign of even better things to come.
Then upon peeking outside, I saw not one but several types of skipper butterflies. And mind you, this is still March.
The downside was that I had an exe exam scheduled for 11:15. But even that turned out okay, because on the way home I stopped at one of my favorite beaches and harvested a big bag of blue mussels. To pick mussels in March, clad only in sneakers, jeans and Tee shirt, is unheard of. But with temperatures by now up in the 70s, that was the way of it.
After this, I headed to Palmyra to get a prescription refilled and on the way home, swung into the bumpy, potholed road that leads to Unity Pond. Several mourning cloak butterflies jumped in the air in front of my car, another first for this date.
The pond was mostly ice covered, but it was a thin layer of black, mushy ice, tinkling as the breezed pushed it here and there. And some water was open along the shore, so I took a few casts just to say that I went open-water fishing on the first day of spring (current laws allow for open-water fishing or ice-fishing year-round in lakes and ponds. Brooks and streams remain closed until April 1, a really nonsensical, misguided breach of common sense).
While fishing the pond, I watched a number of goldeneye ducks paddling around at the edge of open water. Red-winged blackbirds serenaded me from a nearby marsh.
On the way home, I stopped and took a photo of a roadside bank that was covered with bright yellow coltsfoot blossoms, something not to be seen too often on the first day of spring. These usually appear around the second week of April. But then again, the curled dock growing just beneath the coltsfoot-covered bank has never appeared this early either.
On the way home, I spied two newly-arrived turkey vultures gliding low over some woodland.
Back home, I noted that my fish pond had become ice-free, so I dug some earthworms and set out a line, just in case last year’s marauding mink had left me a trout or two.
At day’s end, I sat and played reels and jigs on my pennywhistles, all the while sipping on some nut brown ale. When darkness finally enveloped my little woodland clearing, I took my telescope out and checked out some double stars in the constellation Orion.
And so ended my first day of spring, a memorable and enjoyable one as ever I can recall. I hope you all relished the day as much as I did.
Captions for the three photos, top to bottom, are 1. Tom by his greenhouse thermometer on first day of spring, 2012, 2. Curled dock up and growing on first day of spring and 3. Coltsfoot blossoms enliven a Belfast roadside.