Despite continued cold temperatures, I can tell that we have turned the corner on this winter. The last several days have started out with either single digits, or well below zero. But the March sun is doing its thing, so that by midday, it's much warmer out. Combine that with the new daylight savings schedule, and it feels like we are well on our way to spring.
Now I must say that the arrival of spring in the Northwoods is much different than in other areas. When I say that this new season is coming, it still means that it will take weeks to get here. We will see temperatures that go up and down, even way down, I'm sure. We'll see sunny days, and probably snowy ones. We may get a March blizzard. But the duration of the weather events will lessen, and the episodes of warmer weather will lengthen. Already I've noticed two of my late-winter harbingers.....the birds are very active at the feeder, and I've seen the squirrels chasing each other a lot more.
The next thing to listen for is the crows. For whatever reason, the crows don't winter with us here at Heston's. Maybe it's the ravens' doing. They are larger members of the same family, Corvidae, so maybe like older siblings, they send the crows off to to other hang-outs for several months. I've heard that they are as nearby as Grand Marais. What I know for certain is that within a few days, they will be back up here, ravens or not. Sometime between the 15th and 21st of March, we'll hear them in the early morning, communicating to each other in their rough, throaty language. It will wake us up and make us smile, knowing that the season's change is signaled in another form. I love these markers in the natural world.
It was another great weekend here. The snow is still in good shape, and several people hit the trails. We heard an excellent fishing report, so there are still trout to be had out of the iceholes. The sun was shining each day, and the best part...the Northern Lights were out on Saturday night. Though I don't keep a formal record, it seems like it has been a long time since we've seen much of them. It was quite a treat to once again see the shimmer and dance of the pale green light across the northern sky. There were even a few rays shooting towards the southern sky. Perfect.