A walk in the woodsWhat better season than springtime to take a long walk in the woods? The trees are alive with birds, the forest floor is carpeted with wildflowers and the leaves are budding out in the most amazing shade of green. At least, that’s the way it’s supposed to be.
By: Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
What better season than springtime to take a long walk in the woods? The trees are alive with birds, the forest floor is carpeted with wildflowers and the leaves are budding out in the most amazing shade of green. At least, that’s the way it’s supposed to be.
For one thing, it seems as though spring is having kind of a hard time getting going this year. At the end of last week, snow and freezing granules of sleet fell, as temperatures dipped well below freezing.
Every day, I patiently moved the flowering plant I got for Mother’s Day inside at night and back out during the day. As I changed the sheets on our bed on Saturday, there was little question of whether or not to keep the flannel sheets on the bed.
Though Ken had put the pontoon boat in the water the weekend before, we weren’t able to get out on the lake due to the gale force winds that blew constantly over the weekend.
By Monday, the outdoor temperature registering on the dashboard gauge of my car read 75 degrees as I headed home from work at the end of the day. As I was driving to work on Tuesday morning, however, it was so chilly I had to turn up the heater in my car! And on Wednesday, well.... the forecast was for the temperature to climb back up – this time to 80 degrees!
For another thing, a walk in the woods in the springtime simply isn’t the same as it once was. Within the past week alone, there have been widely-publicized warnings about the perils of an ever-increasing population of black-legged deer ticks in our area of Northern Minnesota and reports that cases of Lyme disease are on the rise.
Bold, front page headlines in the Duluth News Tribune this week proclaimed, “We’ve got the trees, and the killer is coming!” – detailing the impending advent of an emerald ash borer that will allegedly devastate the area’s ash forests in a matter of a few short months.
Folks on the North Shore are debating how best to deal with a burgeoning population of forest tent caterpillars nearing the peak of another seven-year cycle, and the DNR reported our songbird population is moving further northward in the face of global warming.
I couldn’t help but sigh as I contemplated whether to go out for a walk in the woods on a day off last week. I was eager to get out to see if the mayflowers and the marsh marigolds were blooming yet, and I’d heard the high, clear call of a bird in the nearby treetops earlier that morning and I hoped I would spot an oriole. Besides, the accumulation of too many months of too much time spent indoors weighed heavily over me, and I just wanted to go out and find springtime.
As luck would have it, that just happened to be one of the mornings that snowflakes had earlier been spinning past outside my kitchen window. I pulled on my polar fleece jacket, stocking cap and gloves to ward off the cold, tucked my jeans into my socks and sprayed my ankles with Deet to ward off the deer ticks, and determinedly headed down the path through the woods in search of flowers and birds.
And despite the fact the temperature had started out unseasonably chilly, as I walked along the clouds pulled back, a patch of blue sky appeared and the sun broke through. As I came out on an open field, I threw back my head to feel the warmth of sun on my face – and a mosquito lit on my forehead. Seems springtime had actually found me!