Finally! The temperatures have warmed into the low 60s and the rumpled, dead-brown fields are beginning to slowly flush green with the start of spring grass. I would do a little tap dance of pleasure — if I could dance.
After the long winter of silence, the air is full of bird sounds again. I have been working alone on the barn addition and frequently pause on the ladder to listen. The tree swallows returned April 27. I hope to see barn swallows arrive soon.
Gazing out to the back field, I spot many passing visitors. My old nemesis, the big dark coyote. A grazing whitetail doe. A flock of wild turkeys.
For the last few days I’ve had a pair of Canada geese grazing on the cabin knoll and in the south pasture. They leave for an hour or two here and there, but return to pace over my fields, cropping the new grass. This pleases me inordinately. My pastures may be poor, but the geese like them! I push the thought of Maybe it’s the ratio of two geese to seventeen open acres firmly out of my mind.
Yesterday two more geese joined the original pair.
Despite the perpetually gray skies, this past winter was still drier than normal (though not as dry as last year’s terrible drought). The water level in my pond is low for springtime, when it should be brimming with snow-melt and spring rain.
My brain was trained as a toddler by repeated read-alouds of Robert McCloskey’s wonderful Make Way for Ducklings, in which Mr. and Mrs. Mallard search for the perfect home to raise a family. Like ducks, a goose lays eggs over several weeks and then has to sit on them for thirty days. If we have another dry spring, any goslings would hatch and be helpless to escape predators by taking to water. While I would love to have Canada Geese nesting beside my little pond, I feel as a potential landlord duty-bound to make full disclosure to these young couples.
It’s a gravel pit in disguise! In another six weeks the pond might be a dry crater!
Someday when my ship comes in, I hope to be able to line my pond so it’s a dependable, year-round haven for wildlife. For now, however, it can only be a rest stop.