Despite occasional setbacks, it’s SPRING!
On one sunny day, pasque flowers bloom on a ridge in a northeast Iowa goat prairie. Then – hardly 24 hours later – your flowerbed crocuses seem to shiver under an icy jacket left by a late-winter storm.
Ice also coats the swelling buds of an ironwood tree, until the sun finally musters enough power to free them.
As buds swell in the soft maples in the river bottoms, the trees take on a reddish tinge, which almost glows in the first light of a March sunrise.
Icicles and snow may linger in the moss of a north-facing slope – while snow trilliums bloom bravely just a few yards away.
The song sparrow heralds the season by singing its “tea kettle” song from a conspicuous perch atop a leafless shrub.
Goldfinches turn a motley, patchy, yellow-green as they transition from drab winter plumage to their lemon-colored summer suits.
A bold tom turkey gobbles at dawn, then puffs his feathers to scout the woodland edges for still-reluctant hens.
The first great blue heron of the season stalks the Mississippi backwaters – perhaps hoping that spring floods will push a hapless frog or wandering fish its way.
Puddle ducks harvest the waste grain and weed seeds of a farmer’s inundated cornfield.
A pair of mourning doves shares the bounty of your bird feeder, fueling their bodies for the rigors of egg-laying and parenting.
The Canada goose already had begun incubating her eggs on the island in the pond, so she simply hunkered down to stoically ride out the storm and protect her yet-to-hatch clutch of goslings.
Look for more blooms. Listen to the bird songs. Smell the neighbor’s prairie fire. Touch the cool, damp earth. Taste the freshness in the air.
Savor the season!