A March Walk in the Woods
|Maggie and not my earlier collie in the poem.|
The aging lion opens its mouth to roar,
and pauses to watch a dog with golden fur
coming through a silent woods of leafless trees,
except for young beeches clinging to old leaves
afraid that’s all they’ll ever have.
The collie’s nose searches for smells of spring.
Under dead leaves she finds a small green shoot,
a spring beauty, and gives a joyful bark.
The lion cocks its head, listens,
opens mouth to roar, but yawns instead,
closes his eyes and settles down to sleep.
Today is the last day of March, a month with a mixture of cold days, a few warm sunny days, a little snow and lots of rain, and some of the highest winds we’ve had in some time.
Spring officially started on March 20th, but I’ve always considered March the first month of spring.March, April and May are springs months followed by June, July and August as the summer months, etc. After all, some years March comes in like a lamb so that is sort of like spring, isn’t it? This year it didn’t, at least not here in N.E. Ohio, although by the 2nd week it was warming up, only to have a week of bitter cold later in the month, but it did end more lamb like. What can be said about March is that it’s capricious. One never knows from week to week what kind of weather we’ll be having. For instance, last Thursday there was a 70 to 90 percent chance of rain. That rain didn’t come until I was in bed.
|Maggie is looking for squirrels.|
Still, I can’t complain about the weather because this was the warmest winter on record with average temperatures 4.6 degrees F above the 20th century average according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Since I consider March the first month of spring, I start looking for early signs of it, especially on my walks in the woods, but until this past week, I didn’t see any there, except one tiny cut-leaf toothwort just barely visible it was so tiny and holding it’s teeny tiny buds tightly against any possible freezing, maybe. I also saw a few tiny spotted green leaves of trout lilies, and there were a few buds on narcissus I planted five or six years ago near my path, as well as buds on the daffodils I planted over a year ago on the spot the stranger committed suicide by hanging. It’s the spot where I stop and say a little prayer for him – that is if I’m not busy working on a poem, or the next chapter of whatever I’m working on like a murder in a short story.
|Leaves of trout lilies in the woods.|
The leaves of the trees have yet to appear. The only leaves visible are the shriveled pale leaves of the young beech trees. The older ones lost their leaves along with the other trees, but these younger ones cling to these faded leaves as if afraid they will get no more. At least the pines at the beginning of my woods I planted twenty-five years ago add green to the woods as well as the moss throughout the woods greener than ever with the rain, and I did notice yesterday that the leaves on my lilacs have appeared still smaller than a mouse's ear.
|Pulmanaria and a few daffodils in my woodland garden.|
In my gardens, the daffodils and other narcissus are blooming as well as the pulmonaria with clusters of pink and blue flowers and spotted leaves. They have spread throughout my gardens, especially the shady gardens. They are one of the earliest blooming flowers. A few primroses are blooming, too.
|The Star Magnolia Tree by me veggie garden.|
Behind my back fence, my star magnolia is covered with buds that are starting to open into beautiful flowers. The other magnolias will follow later. The pussy willow tree is full of little catkins, but most are higher up because I kept hitting my head on the lower branches when I was mowing so I trimmed those branches.
|One of a dozen or more gardens I have to clean up.|
And now the negative aspects of spring, like cleaning up all the fallen branches and twigs from the many trees around my place after the high winds we’ve had this March. And taking care of the dead stalks of last year’s plants, and the leaves and pine needles I never finished raking last fall. Each flower bed that’s showing the green leaves of daylilies, tulips, daffodils, etc. also have dead plants that need to be removed. The high winds also turned over large pots spilling out dirt. The winds even turned over an old wheelbarrow I plant annuals in each spring.
|I couldn't resist including one more picture of Maggie.|
Perhaps one of the grossest aspects of spring is the road kill with all the animals coming out of hibernation; raccoons, skunks, and possums. Unfortunately, Maggie has been finding the remains of dead creatures in the woods, too. I don’t appreciate these gifts she brings me.
Still, in spite of the work, I still welcome spring with its flowers, trees greening up, and the song birds that migrated south returning. I like going out without a coat and hat. I like working in the gardens. I like just about everything about spring except for what I mentioned above.
What do you like about spring?
What do you not like about it?