Subtle Signs of Spring

Once the weather warms, the greenery appears and the flowers bloom, everyone knows it is spring.  But those who pay close attention to nature notice signs of spring well in advance of the full blown season.

This morning, at South Platte Park, the ponds and lakes were mostly ice covered and the brown vegetation offered no hint of spring.  The winter ducks were all still present and nesting behavior was not yet evident (though I'm sure great horned owls have broods by now).  However, the territorial calls of red-winged blackbirds were beginning to rise from the marsh and a trio of male common goldeneyes were displaying for a female who showed no immediate interest.

Humans, slaves to our large brains, tend to define the seasons using rigid guidelines (i.e., the calendar months, the equinoxes and the solstices).  But nature's year is a continuum, and the cycle of life varies with each species.  Those who adopt this fluid image of the natural world, our own lives included, are more aware of subtle events while acknowledging the complexity of seasonal change.