Springtime in Five Acts
Act I Spring is here
I don’t get too excited about the official, calendar first day of spring just as I don’t put too much stock into Groundhog day. I mean if several men in tuxedos pulled me from a deep sleep to inquire about whether there was to be six more weeks of spring, I’d want back into my hole-shadow or not. The meaning of spring is different for everyone; for some it may mean first green grass, maybe the first robin or like me, renewing cattle fence.
Act II Fence renewal
I am proud of my fence and what makes me most proud is I don’t have to do much maintenance to keep it working. I do , however, have a short piece of fence along the Black River that ends up on the ground as the water recedes and leaves heavy, wet grass hanging on the wire. The whole process is kind of aerobic exercise in that you bend over, lift up and pull for several hundred repetitions. It makes me wonder what attracts people to rivers and water frontage. I guess maybe most people consider aesthetics and not fence cleaning aerobics when they choose where to live.
Act III Geese
This week a large flock of geese showed up in the Fargo, North Dakota area. They came seeking large fields of water from which to fuel up for their trip. I’ve read several accounts that estimate numbers into many thousands although nothing I could call official. If you are a birdwatcher, this is an annual celebration. If you are living bird food, this is a bummer.
Act IV A dry summer
I am not a meteorologist; considering some of the poor weather forecasts, I say that proudly. What I am is an observer of weather and what nature whispers on the wind. I was able to pound a three foot rod into the ground about ten days ago so apparently the frost is gone which may explain why things have dried out quickly. I also noticed that while we have much subsoil moisture, the pastures are already dry enough that I leave no track with my tractor. One good rain storm will make me look foolish, but I sense a dry year in 2010. Again, I am not a weather forecaster, just a sleepy groundhog.
Act V The sweet smell of spring
There is no indication of spring quite as overbearing as the smell that comes from the sanitary lagoon near Thief River Falls, Minnesota. If you expect spring to arrive on little bird wings, then the first nostril-filling, open-handed slap that arrives with a good west wind is a wake-up. This little lagoon spends most of its life quietly and efficiently working however in late March it clears it’s throat and announces to all an official change of seasons with a stench that you can actually taste. It really made me feel sorry for the people up by the dairy north of town who unfortunately enjoy the announcement of spring each morning. It all kind of makes one appreciate winter.
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