My phone isn't sending the photos I've taken on recent walks, so I'll just have to tell you about them. Sigh. The wonders of modern technology.
For two weeks now, I've been seeing new catkins on the trees. I thought it was too early for that, but there they are. The old ones are brown and shriveled and dead, but the new ones are a very light green and, well, new. Earlier this week, I saw buds starting to pop out on some of the bushes on the trail. Although I tried to get a photo of them, it was too dark in that part of the woods so my camera phone wasn't effective.
Today, the water in the wetlands has receded enough to reveal sprouts of skunk cabbage. I didn't know they start out reddish-brown and only turn bright green when they're up out of the ground. There were three pairs of ducks a-courting as Rufus and I sprinted along. One couple was quite close to the trail, and I was able to snap a quick photo of Mr. Mallard.
The wetlands looked quite different today, and it took me a while to figure out why. The tall grasses and reeds have stayed upright all winter, but now they're clumped on the ground. When the new shoots grow, they'll poke right up through the old dead stuff and the wetlands will look like green meadows. But what made the dead grasses collapse? Ahhh... Now I remember. About three weeks ago, the water level was almost up to the trail. Everything was covered. As the wetland drained, the weakened stalks were left laying on the ground. That's how the grasses get a fresh start, and that's how the scenery looks clean and green and pure.
I love fall and winter. I love quieter days, cooler temperatures, FOOTBALL, and the way that distance softens bare tree branches to look all heathery. I don't mind the rain and the damp and the interesting weather. But as I've been watching the wetlands change, I'm beginning to think I might enjoy this transformation to spring and green and brighter colors. There are good things about spring and summer. Maybe this year I can let myself enjoy those seasons more. I'm definitely loving these quiet walks with my dog friend.
And football starts in seven months.