Forget the silly groundhog ritual, spring is on its way. By early February, the higher sun angle and lengthening daylight are evident to all who venture from their winter caves. Though Old Man Winter has yet to lose his grip, Mother Sun is beginning to reclaim the American Heartland.
Snow and greater white-fronted geese are taking notice of the change and will soon invade our region, stopping to rest and feed on their way to the Arctic. Periods of thaw are taking their toll on the landscape and the green tips of crocuses, snowdrops and hyacinths are peeking through the barren flowerbeds. Perhaps most noticeable, morning birdsong is starting to intensify as the nesting season approaches; robins, cardinals, mourning doves, Carolina wrens and white-throated sparrows tend to be most vocal.
Of course, there will be blizzards, ice storms and raw weather ahead but the tide has surely turned. As long as we humans can adopt the patience of our wild neighbors, we'll enjoy our journey into the light.