To be fair, we’ve had far worse winters weather wise but this winter has seemed rougher, darker and sadder than most. As a life long environmentalist, artist and educator I can’t help but feel that everything I believe in is being threatened by bullies who worship the dollar far more than the heart, soul and health.
For me, the long winter kept making that more and more apparent. As spring arrives, however, I find myself rolling up my sleeves and getting down to the hard work of really standing up for the things I treasure. I find comfort in the fact that so many women, and men, too, are doing the same. Bulldozers and steam rollers may often get their way but eventually those confrontations with rocks, boulders and waterfalls can wear them down and stop them dead in their tracks. I intend to be one of the latter.
Anyhoo, as my grandmother would say, it is finally spring! As we all know, spring on the Cape is….well, not like spring in other places. We have to take it when we can get it, and where.
First, there’s that wonderful spring light, getting stronger every day. These black locust trees still only the tiniest of buds but the light somehow makes them seem joyous on a bright March afternoon.
Red maple, also called swamp maple, is one of our earliest native bloomers and its buds are already red and ready to go…. Pussy willows can now be found around most our bogs and freshwater wetlands. Willows like soggy ground, one of the reasons you should never plant them near a sewer line or septic tank. Their roots will eagerly seek all water sources and they aren’t picky about what type of water that might be, if you catch my drift. Skunk cabbage is another early wetland plant. I will be writing more about these interesting plants later in the week as they deserve a whole post of their own. These humble looking plants have quite the story and biology! Here’s a little skunk cabbage flower getting ready to bloom…. Hellebores, also called Lenten roses are very early bloomers and can survive snow, ice and other indignities. And of course, everyone’s spring favorites, snow drops and crocus. These are cultivated, not native or wild but they are so cheery I had to include them here.
Ospreys and piping plovers should be arriving within the week so keep your eyes wide open, ears, too!
What are some of your favorite early spring signs?