a childhood saved

A Naturalist's Notebook

When I was 14-15 years old, I wrote a series of 23 essays as a weekly assignment for my high school English class. I called the series "A Naturalist's Notebook." Naturalist's Notebook Table of Contents

Early Spring: March 6, 1974

This year, we seem to be having an early spring. Redwings came early—February 22—and grackles came on February 28. We've had a few very warm days, up to 60°F! Canada geese are flying all around, and mallard ducks stay in our lake, which is almost ice-free. Many shoots are coming up, and spring flowers will be out in a few weeks. Pussy willows lift their gray furry catkins to the sky, while tulip trees blossom far above. The "konk-a-reeee" song of the redwings is one of the most springlike of songs. The grackle's hoarse "check-chorkee-dee-dee-check" echoes throughout the woods.

In early morning, mist rises from the lake. All is silent, expectant. A cardinal sings. Crows, mourning doves, starlings, follow. A robin chirrups in the grassy meadow. A lone raccoon lumbers across the yard. On silent wings, a mother great horned owl makes her last morning parry before retiring to her nest. An early-rising chipmunk will rise no more. He makes fine food for young owls.

It is on days like this that one really begins to appreciate the beauty of springtime. The excitement of new life, the passage of old, the events of the present are all blended into one glorious season: Spring.

Next: "A Salute to Spring" March 14, 1974