There are etchings in the dirt, parting our trails, lining hills, showing us which direction is lower ground. The final snow (blizzard) came and melted, and for three days there were streams throughout the woods. The average trail had a puddle to jump. By the end of the three days, new life emerged. The chorus frogs sang, teeny spring beauties pushed the debris aside, and we all scrounged in our closets for our sandals. Since those three days, we’ve been searching for signs of spring. And we’ve found plenty to celebrate about.
After the melt, the pond doubled in size. A trail circles the pond, but it was underwater, and our first 2018 pond explorers bushwhacked new trails to the pond. The pond itself was lively, full of the typical macro invertebrates, but also two, possibly three painted turtles.
Outside of teaching, we staff members have been exploring other places with high water. Last Friday we canoed the Root River, looking for changed or new hazards. The river was full of life! We counted over 5 smooth softshell turtles, 17 Canadian geese and 6 goslings, and a swimming garter snake. A vole, controlled by a parasite, swam tight circles. Above the river, a pair of nesting Bald Eagles fed their recent hatchlings. By Sunday, a few motivated staff ventured east to the Mississippi River and caught some 50 pound paddlefish. By Sunday, a few other motivated staff carried the pull-out sofa to the front lawn and we lounged in the sunshine. It is indeed spring.