Thursday, March 4, 2010

When The Wild Geese Return

Wild Plants And Wooly Bears

All seasonal changes in nature take place on a sequential basis. These may occur earlier some years (as in the current, early spring) and later at other times. But the time between events, no matter when they begin, never varies.

For instance, when coltsfoot, a bright-yellow wildflower, blooms, anadromous (go to sea for a part of the year) brook trout ascend tidal rivers. Or, when mourning cloak butterflies emerge from hibernation and begin flying about, close to the ground, spring peepers will begin calling within one week.

Sometimes, we humans intuit coming changes, too. I woke up this morning, blinked the sleep from my eyes and listened. It was time for Canada geese to return. I fully expected to hear their noisy honking, high overhead. But no. Silence reigned. No geese, just total quiet.

Forgetting about geese, I opened my email and there was a note from a friend telling me that he had seen a flock of geese in a nearby field. So my instinct was right. The geese just didn’t happen to fly over my house, but they had, indeed, arrived on schedule.

It’s great fun to ascertain these patterns. Try noting when different birds arrive, when various wildflowers bloom and when frogs and insects become evident. Jot down the times of these events and then compare dates of one event to another. The time between arrivals, blooming times and so on may vary by a few days, but never by much more.

To get into this in an even larger way, begin observing the constellations. What happens when the Big Dipper rises to a certain point, as in over that pine tree out back? Certain natural events coincide with the ever-changing patterns in the sky.

Change. It’s something that most of us dislike, some fear and others totally eschew. But in nature, change always was, and remains, ongoing.

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