New Hampshire Nature Notes
by Eric Orff
Brrr. Back in the cooler today.
Boy don't things change from day to day around here this time of year. Sometimes minute by minute. Yes, things are changing quickly this time of year. While my thermometer has yet to struggle above freezing today, and the wind adds to the briskness of the day. Well, the fact is it's still spring-like outside and not winter-like as my thermometer is trying to tell me. And if the sun would show his face today, well that 28 degrees wouldn't hardly matter at all.
And so, nothing is going to stop change now. The sun still rules even if it's cloudy. I can glance out my home office window to see my daffodils well above the soil now. How they have leaped out of the ground this past week. Yes, things are progressing right along into spring. Sure, a spring snow, or if this cold were to persist for a few days, it might slow things down a bit. Then boom, changes would happen all the faster.
I haven't seen or heard a frog yet. And this is a bit late for that for me. The local farm fields have a blush of green in places. For the first time I saw a heard of deer grazing in a field at sunset here in town. Good to see life again after a long winter hiatus. We are on the very edge of that mass explosion in life to New Hampshire that will happen over the next few weeks. Frogs and salamanders and fish and fox and all sorts of our furry friends will be giving birth the next two or three weeks. Soon to be followed by way more feathered friends. I did gather a few pussywillow branches this week to share with my wife and her friends. The red maple buds are faintly swelling here but will too soon burst open with new life and leaves. It is the sounds of wild that will be changing the most the next couple of weeks. Bird songs and calls will flood the air we breathe. I can almost taste their sweet songs cast for me to catch any way i can. My sense will be on full alert from now on into summer. Oh, to catch that first whiff of spring on a late spring afternoon when that sun drenched Earth gives us that sweet smell of spring.
Let's face it. We are still in a drought. I'm thinking we've had enough snow and rain to mostly fill the vernal pools. No big run-off this spring though. I watch the Suncook River daily from my perch high above the river. It never even has gone to a full banking of water this year, so far. There is virtually no snow left to melt anywhere in Central and Southern New Hampshire to even fill our lakes that were drawn way down for the winter. Makes me wonder why they are still drawn down so low in the fall when we are in a several year droughts. Only to then stop the flow of water in the rivers and brooks below the dams as the lakes are refilled. This can't be good for all the wildlife in and along the now nearly dried up rivers and brooks. It's these waters that will be a source of spring hatching insects for fish and birds to feast on. Just me watching and worrying, I guess.
My mind has thought about places in New Hampshire where I have found serenity. Peace and quiet. I'm not talking about some remote mountain range up north. I'm talking places in Central and Souther New Hampshire where you can pause for a minute, or more, and not hear another human, save for an infrequent passing plane. There are some even in my town where you can escape the sounds of others. That distant traffic, barking dog or car door shutting. Yes, peaceful places. One of them in town has been pretty well protected from such disturbance in the future. I've been wondering if we should be doing more to locate and map these places and then to actively protect them. Again, just me thinking. Winter thinking, I think it was. And who will have time in spring to think. Can't do that. Stop and think and spring will be gone. Time to engage spring full on.
Spring is springing on us now
The greening of New Hampshire has begun.