| Mar 31, 2005

Nature Reflections, Spring, March 31, 2005

Nature Reflections March 31 2005

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The Vernal Equinox

The Vernal Equinox of the Northern Hemisphere is that point at which the sun is directly over the equator on its journey north. Night and day are the same length. This year this happened at 7:34 a.m. EST, March 20. And we are suddenly in the season of spring (pay no attention to the predictions of the groundhogs on February 2), even though it may not feel like it because of snow or cold.

Spring is a time of awakening - awakening of plants, hibernating animals, insects that have been hiding in shelter places - and people who welcome its arrival. What are the first signs of spring?

Is it the first robin hopping on a bare patch of ground - or the first bicycle ridden by an eager boy?

Is it the crunch as you walk on the sugar snow early in the morning - or the tinkle of water trickling down the eavestroughing?


Is it the dirt on the roads snow bank as the sun exposes the sand or debris thrown up by the snowplough - or the first chipmunk to appear from hibernation?

Is it the first chirping of the chorus frogs - or the emergence of the fluffy buds of the pussy willow?

Is it the sight of a partially white hare changing from its winter coat - or the first whiff of scent of skunk?

Is it the first bloom of the crocus in a garden - or the song of a bluebird that has just arrived from the south?

Is it the drumming of a Ruffed Grouse as it seeks a mate - or the chalk design of hopscotch on a sidewalk?

Is it the muddy footprints of a dog or person on the step - or the honking of a skein of geese heading north?

Is it the smoke rising from a sugaring camp - or the Skunk Cabbage pushing its way up through the last remnants of snow?

Is it the first fresh green colour of new blades of grass - or the brilliant red flash of a cardinal as it sings its first song of the season?

Is the first early butterfly emerging from hibernation - or a lethargic fly warmed by the sun that has made the mistake of landing on the cold snow?

Whatever it may be - it is a time to celebrate, to use our eyes to welcome the fresh colours, to use our ears to hear the songs of returning birds, to feel the first fresh warm breeze on our face or touch the softness of the pussy willow, to taste the sweetness at a sugaring-off, and to smell the earth as it bared from its winter blanket. All five senses come into play as we celebrate springs arrival.

Observations: Joanne McMacken, Sharbot Lake, saw a Great Blue Heron flying over on March 23. Share your sightings; call Jean at 268-2518 or email

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