Thursday, April 2, 2009
Spring is flirting with us. Almost freezing, then sunny and cold, then warmish, then almost freezing. The forsythia endeavors to persevere.
It makes us feel good just to look at it, a treasure chest opened and bursting with radiant gold.
Here, we have had chipping sparrows, cardinals, and even a brown thrasher build their nests, and all have succeeded. It's a good plant, all the better when let go a little wild.
In the woods, the spring beauties (Claytonia virginiana) are blooming. Each pair of leaves leads to a nutritious tuber that bears like to eat. I wonder if skunks do, too, and imagine so.
Liam, Phoebe and I go out to check the frogpools along our oil well access road. They're just puddles, but they're home to spring peepers, mountain chorus frogs, gray tree frogs, American toads and sometimes wood frogs and green frogs. All laid eggs there last year, when early summer rains kept the pools full into July. The rains I'd hoped for finally materialized in the last week of March, and the mountain chorus frogs and American toads are singing full bore. Peepers are AWOL as yet. I can't remember a spring without peepers.
Walking back from the pools (we saw ripples but no eggs as yet), I notice that my boy Liam is getting very big indeed. Well, he's nine; he's not a little boy any more. How can that be?
Phoebe, at twelve, is properly suspicious of my camera. She keeps me at a distance. I usually use a telephoto on her, the way I would photograph a deer.
Farther up the path, as the evening falls, she finds something in the grass that needs to be identified. Paging Science Chimp. I knuckle on over. Policy: If my kids want to show me something in nature, I am there as fast as I can get there. If they ask to go to the newt pond, we go to the newt pond. Showing an interest in nature gets immediate reward.
She is 5'4", only an inch from catching me. She will surely zoom right past and look down on me by Christmas. And yet she can fold up those giraffelike legs and be five again.
Phoebe's find turns out to be a lone grape hyacinth, and we discuss whether it was named because its tiny round bell-shaped flowers look like a cluster of grapes (likely) or because they smell like grape bubble gum (less likely). At any rate, it's a long way from its compatriots that still come up in a mysterious fairy ring behind the old house foundation on the hill.
Liam flakes out, watching the clouds go over.
A bud bursts its binding. This might be a buckeye, or it might not. There's something sorta hickorylike about it.
He gets up, turns around, and I see his father in his face. I wonder if Bill ever sees me there.
Outwardly, I may have given him little more than his coloring and a pouty lower lip, but there is plenty of me inside that soul. Neither of us has much use for team sports. We'd rather watch clouds or draw.
It's time to let spring warm our faces and bring joy back to our hearts. Here's a photo I love from last week.
Chet Baker tells Nina that someone loves her. That's what spring, and Chet Baker, are for.