It’s crazy how Winter overlaps with Spring, the seasons battling for supremacy. Yet the days are noticeably longer, more and more migrating birds have returned; moths have hatched and are mobbing street-lights; the first butterflies — Mourning Cloaks — have unfolded from under bark or siding; Woodfrogs have awoken from their frozen winter state, ready to mate; numerous green shoots are, well…shooting up. A red-haze has appeared in the hardwoods — bud-caps that precede and protect their buds. Once they are on the ground the greening can start and the line of bright green verdure will steadily march up these ancient hills and they will ring with all the joyous sounds of the spring of 2023. Winter is still nearby, though — nature evidently runs on its own cycle. Just because we mark time with our silly calendars and make exhaustive notes of the “signs of spring,” the earth is not constrained in any fashion. It is probably not concerned with us. That may deeply disturb many people who have been raised to think how powerful we are, that the earth somehow revolves around our tiny little selves. On top of all that, climate- change is real and is contributing greatly already to drastic changes the earth (and us) are experiencing. I can see the effect that the higher sun-angle adds to the longer days on our recent white “snow-gift”, encouraging more — and more rapid — melting than we would experience in the shorter days of mid-winter.
Birds-eggs — yes, Bambi — no.
You can return an egg to the nest (birds have no sense of smell and its parents will thank you), but never handle a fawn. Incredibly, they are born without a scent, as a protective measure which allows the doe to freely feed nearby, to regain her strength after birthing. You may cause her to reject the fawn by imbuing it with your scent.
As you can tell, I love spring (who doesn’t?). The only issue I have with it is that it takes seemingly forever for it to come to fruition. All of the other seasons fairly zip along by comparison. For one thing, with March as an excellent example, early spring is really hard to distinguish from late winter. We’re still apt to go below freezing and to have snow. It is some consolation to know any snow we get won’t last because of the sun’s higher angle and the ground is warmer than it had been, yet it always frustrates us. Maybe it would help if we made four minor seasons in between the four major ones —Winterspring; Summerspring; Summerfall and Winterfall. Then it might be easier to adapt from one to the other. Still I think spring will always suffer from our green expectations after so long without verdure.
Footwear for mud-season
I can’t emphasize enough how important the correct footwear can be on the trails. Without the right shoes or boots people have a tendency to walk around muddy spots, thereby going off the trail and possibly damaging delicate endangered plants-to-be, still buried just off trail (our soon-to-come Spring Ephemerals), and making the trail-keeper’s job more difficult by unnecessarily widening the trail. Remember, please wear the rightwaterproof footwear and walk through the mud.
To reach Dave Holden, call 845-594-4863 or email firstname.lastname@example.org; also see Woodstock Trails on Facebook; rangerdaveholden on Instagram or www.woodstocknytrails.com.