Thursday, March 10, 2011

Promise of Spring

Although the landscape here still tells the story of winter, we are holding fast to the promise of spring.

This week, to wipe away our winter blahs, we headed indoors to the annual butterfly exhibit at the Frederick Meijer Gardens. In fact Miles made the trip twice this week. Because of our work schedules both Michael and I went on separate adventures with Miles to view the kaleidoscope of Lepidoptera on display. (Miles wouldn't tell us who he had the most fun with :-)

The tropical display of beautiful fluttering butterflies and blossoming flowers was certainly enough to remind us that the season of snowdrifts and grey skies cannot last forever.

When we stepped outside we found other, more discreet signs that the warm days of summer are in fact on their way. The goldfinches huddled in the trees near the feeders looked at us suspiciously. They seemed to suspect that we knew they were threatening to shed their dingy winter coats for their gilded summer glow.
The buds of this Red Maple (Acer rubrum) seemed to be swelling slightly. Here you can see that this damaged branch has a drop of sap forming. Proof that the (relatively) warm days and cool nights we've been experiencing are just right to "wake" the trees from their slumber. We hope that this season is better than last year, and the weather conditions will remain perfect for sap flow, so all our friends who are sugaring right now can take advantage of the gift of the Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum). In fact, we just ran out of our own stash of Michigan maple syrup this week, and we can't wait for this years batch to be boiled down!

So as the days grow longer, and we "march" our way towards the equinox on the 20th, we are taking a moment to try to remember the things we will miss about winter. (Yes, there might be one or two.) We will miss the blessing of sunshine when it breaks through the clouds bearing blue skies; making the world glow bright white after days of grey. We will miss the snowflakes, all of them, and even the piles and piles of them that take hours to shovel. We will miss watching the tracks of wildlife as they leave the tale of their whereabouts in the snow. (Hopefully the information we have gleaned will help us keep them out of our garden this summer!) We will definitely miss cuddling with the family by the fire in the evening.

Really, I think the thing I will miss the most though, is Miles dressed for an outing in his big green snowsuit that Nonna has taken to calling his "pickle outfit." I am afraid he will probably outgrow it before the snow flies again, so this might be the last photo of him in his green getup!

"Bye Bye" winter, and "Hello" (or "Haho" as Miles says) to the Robin we saw perched outside! Hooray!!! Spring is on the way!

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