March, probably the longest month of the year...at least emotionally. The month where our hopes turn to longer days, sunnier skies, and warmer temperatures. While there are many natural signs that winter is on the wane, we are clearly in between this season and the next.
The snow is diminishing, especially around town. Ugly piles from snowplowing are mostly what're left. At least until we’re struck with late winter snowfall. Like today, perhaps.
In the countryside, it’s a mixed bag. North facing hillsides continue to be thick with snow while sites graced with the sun’s southerly touch are beginning to show plow lines, tall grass, and corn stalk remnants.
The pond where I photographed a Great Blue Heron last summer remains frozen and inhabited only by the muskrats and beavers who’ve built shelters to survive winter’s cold.
Last Saturday, on a partly sunny afternoon when my brother was visiting, we decided to drive to Empire to have dinner and catch a sunset. Party sunny skies made the promise of a sunset very real, yet by the time we arrived, the clouds had moved in and effectively blocked the chance of seeing the sun set.
Still, the beach scene was beautiful. The Lake was mostly free of ice; interesting ice formations lined the shoreline; and Empire Bluffs and South Manitou nicely framed the whole tableau.
While it was chilly near the shoreline, the wind was calm making it easy to explore the dune grass, beach, and ice formations.
Earlier that day, when my brother and I had been exploring the countryside south of town, we drove by this cornfield. In my mind’s eye, I could still visualize last season’s Sandhill Cranes doing their herky-jerky moves across the field as they feasted among the leftover corn stalks.
Passing this still frozen wetland pond on our way back home, I recalled all the migrating birds I’d seen there last spring. I wondered whether they could already be on their way here. That’s what the long in between is about, isn’t it? Hope for what’s coming next.