Monday, April 3, 2017

Spring, For Sure

Despite the fact that we're getting a whole lot of rain, followed by a return to what passes for winter temperatures around here (lows in the 40's, oh my!), the season has definitely turned a corner. These little guys are everywhere.


And I do mean everywhere. I'm soft-hearted, so before I drive away I do my best to clear them off the sidewalls of my tires. Also off the garbage can before I move it, and off the handle of the spigot before I use the hose. You get the idea.

I came in the other night and sat down to read in my favorite chair, only to discover that I was wearing a little fuzzy epaulette . . . who then had to be returned outside.

I've never been stung, but some folks have a reaction to the fuzzy little white tufts of hair on their backs, so I take care and use a leaf or a stick to send them on their way.

Many moths will appear in the future, after these crawlies have had a chance to pupate.

We have also begun to see the gloriously soaring swallow-tailed kites, which are one of our true harbingers of spring. The northern climes have their robins; we have these beauties, newly returned from South America and ready to set up housekeeping and create some babies.

Photo used with permission from Keith Gardner

I dreamed last night that I could fly just like them, as long as I was wearing my white kayaking shirt. It was an incredible dream that I wanted to continue forever. If I ever get a chance to be reincarnated as a swallow-tailed kite, I'll definitely take that chance.  

We are still seeing goldfinches at the feeder, including two males who look splendid in their summer colors. I could watch them all day as they bustle about. That yellow is simply spectacular.

Meanwhile, here's what spring green looks like. The new cypress needles are practically fluorescent.


And then there are these guys.

Photo by my friend and kayaking buddy Joanne Bolemon

Last time we were kayaking, a very large gator slid into the water to avoid another kayaker, surfaced quite near my kayak, then quickly submerged again and swam directly under me! Thanks to the clear spring water, I could see every detail of his/her head, neck, back, and tail as he/she zoomed below me. The water was fairly shallow so I was prepared to get bumped. But (whew!) there was just enough for the both of us. 

Gators are generally not a bit interested in doing anything aggressive; they just want to get away into deep water where they can safely hide and wait for you to go on past, so they can resume their dozing, either floating on the surface or sunning on a convenient log or riverbank. They are great fun to see from a reasonably close distance, or even a little closer than that--as long as they're heading away from you. 

Ah, springtime.  

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