Forward, March!

icicles

Four days ago the snakes were out. Now once again we have snow, we have abstraction, we have calligraphy. But this is not a step backwards, as so many people like to think.

peninsula

The water in the stream looks black because the snow is white — this was true even before I upped the contrast in post-processing. Winter is about nothing if not contrast. And during no other month are the contrasts as sharp as they are in March, at winter’s end.

blackberry leaf

The dance between winter and spring is well underway. Mourning doves are pairing off, and the sharp-shinned hawks are wickering in the depths of the spruce grove. The woods echo with the calls of red-bellied woodpeckers.

weed

Certain dried weeds from last autumn remind me of wildflowers that will be blooming in another two months. The seed capsules of one unidentified weed in the hollow this morning, for example, were reminiscent of yellow mandarin blossoms. And the arrangement of leaves on the stem of the weed above reminded me of Solomon’s-seal, though I very much doubt that’s what it is.

grackle

A common grackle foraging in the stream made me think for a moment that the Louisiana waterthrush had returned a month early, though there’s no mistaking that baleful eye.

This may well be the last snowfall of the year, so I took special note of all the tracks. In one place, a vole had left a complex arabesque of tunnels in the top two inches of the snow. A little farther along, I saw where a chipmunk had made a very brief foray out from its burrow. And up near the top of the hollow, a winter cranefly strode purposefully over the snow without leaving any tracks at all.

winter cranefly

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave's writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the "share alike" provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

11 Comments


  1. Nice pix. The leaf and twig are great, and the two that follow also.. I like the way they sit on the page without borders, like they’re painted or drawn directly onto the blog screen, not in rectangular photo blocks. They really look like illustrations.

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  2. Thanks. I wasn’t sure it would work that way, and in fact went so far as to try inserting code for a 1-px grey border around each, but when I looked at the preview, I thought it might be better to follow my usual pattern and leave the borders off. Glad you agree.

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  3. Spring marches on, snow or no.

    Want to mention that I came across one of your mother’s books on my shelves this evening. I saw *Bonta* on the spine and thought, “Hey – I know that name!” – funny moment in the small world of blogs.

    I looked for tracks in the backyard today and found interesting only those of a person with very small feet who came from the street to gaze at my frozen fish pond.

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  4. Love these photos and second Leslee’s thoughts! I keep saying this, I know, but snow is sure prettier than rain (of which we’ve been having far too much here).

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  5. I looked for tracks in the backyard today and found interesting only those of a person with very small feet who came from the street to gaze at my frozen fish pond.
    That’s a very poetic image. Thanks, Laura. (And glad to hear you’re familiar with my mother’s work.)

    snow is sure prettier than rain
    Yeah, but fog and mist are pretty cool.

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  6. Thanks once more for allowing me to see and think about the world differently. Wonderful photos — what leslee said.

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  7. I’d like to see what you do with fog. We had a dazzling white one before the last two snows this week–it warmed up and rained on our snow mountains. Off rolled pristine mist.

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  8. Yeah, that sort of thing can be really beautiful. I was hoping for some good rising-mist effects when the last snowpack was melting, but didn’t see any here.

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  9. really love that fourth photo…testing to see if my comment will post but
    I really do love the graceful raggedy sprig.

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