I had to go out of town unexpectedly the first of March. When I left, Winter had this area firmly in hand. Fierce winds made the temperatures even colder and snow lay deep in yards. When I returned it felt like Winter had let itself out and Spring was sliding in through the back door.
Unlike other parts of the country, Spring in Wyoming is not about warm temperatures and flowers blooming. Instead it’s more a feeling, an expectancy.
The most reliable indicator of the change in seasons are the birds. The first red-winged blackbird was staking out his territory and singing on February 28. Mountain bluebirds showed up suddenly on the 11th. Every day brings the return of summer visitors – sandhill cranes, killdeer, California Gulls, and our beloved western medaowlark.
Today the first crocus opened to greet the day. Spring is definitely here.
Summer is so busy because it’s so fleeting. There are only a few weekends for camping, hiking, or hanging out at the lake before the winds of winter strike.
There’s a lot about summer that we miss because we’re not paying attention in our busyness.
In July did you notice all the baby birds? You have to watch closely to tell they are babies because they look almost like adults. But they’re thinner, lighter and sometimes scruffy with pin feathers sticking up here and there. The best clue to their age is their flying ability or lack of. Their take offs, and especially their landings, are awkward – wings flaring, feet stretched wide searching for a perch, the safety of a branch or the ground. There’s a lot of tumbling and stumbling just like human babies learning to run.
Baby magpie with a short tail and a few remaining baby feathers
Did you observe that the wild grasses finished growing a month ago and quickly went to seed? Seeds that catch the early morning sunlight and reflect gold as they become food for birds, mice, and voles and are the promise of another year’s growth.
Did you miss the inter-species warfare at the anthill? Large black ants came and anhilated much of the smaller red ant colony. If you bent down and studied the ant hill you’d seen mangled bodies strewn across the small scene. Black and red ants – some still in the throws of death.
Now the Summer of 2016 is gone, only to be played out again in memories.
Fall is now the season is the moment. But it’s even shorter than summer.
Try not to miss it.