First Loon

I heard the first loon of the season today. After a couple of days near 70° spring seems now to be a reality, at long last. Although the lakes and wetlands are still mainly iced- in, the loons must be finding places to land and feed. The southerly breeze yesterday ate the snow cover at a miraculous rate, and although there are still numbers of diehard ice fishermen on some lakes, my attention has turned to tasks such as getting my rototiller running and playing in the dirt with the skid loader; grading the driveway and pushing the remnants of ice and snow.

When you wait for six or seven months for the first 70° day, you seem to appreciate it much more. There is no sameness, indifference, or boredom associated with a warm day here. It is truly a miracle to be savored and appreciated. The first sunny, warm day when the temperatures reach the point at which there is no discomfort in wearing short sleeves, is a day to mark on the calendar.

Such a day is one in which we inhale the smell of thawed dirt, and marsh water, with wonder and even awe. Waterfowl call to each other with the renewed hope of nests and succulent insects to ramp up their protein intake. Turkeys gobble and pheasants crow with the eternal promise of new life to replace the frozen remnants of carcasses strewn on snow-covered Hills. Just a hint of green now creeps into the low spots, recently emptied of snow, and the hope is once again that the brown prairie grasses are hiding new green shoots deep within their subterranean hearts.

Pity those who live where 70° days are commonplace throughout the year; the newness and the wonder lost.

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