The sun now has more power. Wavelengths begin to reach the snow pack deep in the heads of northerly facing hollows. Tiny rivulets begin to form, slowly at first; but gaining momentum with each passing hour. The sun is a powerful ally. The mountainside begins to show a few brown patches. Hints of green tantalize the imagination as tiny green ramp leaves poke through the leaves. Trilliums and violets soon follow. Black-throated Green Warblers and Solitary Vireos return and tease us with their song. Rivulets will get stopped by the cold nights, the trilliums and alliums will be compressed by yet more snow. The singing will continue. Spring is finally here.
Spring means many things to many people; some just go by what they hear on TV. When I see the first serviceberries bloom; I know there is a little bit of hope in respect to the end of winter. Not much, but a little glimmer; anyway. There will be more of that nasty white stuff, it will not last. Might not even stick; but all the same it will make its presence known. I’m a hummingbird person, myself. I know that when the first Ruby-throated Hummingbirds return; it is time for morels, asparagus and ramps. This is also about the time that water temperatures hit 50 degrees. Trout begin feeding on a myriad of underwater life forms. That means spring to me. My earliest return date for hummingbirds is April 17 and the 26th is my latest. April 22 has the most first sightings this century; here in Randolph County.
Spring is the season that we all look forward to; sadly it is often cut too short. We all need to take advantage of every pleasant day. Soon, it will get hot. There is just so much we want to do and need to do in a short period of time. First on the list here are peas, lettuce and onions. Cabbage and broccoli soon follow. There may be some time in between for a couple of fishing trips; before the end of the month monsoons that always seem to come. My potatoes go in the ground when the catbirds show up. Then it is turkey and trout time. I can hardly wait to get out there.
Believe me when I say that the older you get; the longer the winter becomes. If I remember right, the first day of deer season, it was about 5 degrees on the mountain I chose. I believe that I have been cold since then. April brings hope it is a time to rejuvenate. Can you now feel the warm sun on the back of your neck? I can hardly wait to feel that Clouser thump and a trout shaking its head. Dirty knees, bags of ramps and some fish heads for the tomatoes. Are all things I think of when I hear that spring word. Hurry up April and be kind when you get here. We've had enough.
This is my April 2014 column for the print edition of Two-Lane Livin. (c) 2014 All Rights Reserved