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.
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.
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.
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.
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.