Welcome Spring

I know when I went for my morning walk yesterday, March 1, that maybe things didn’t look a whole lot like spring. It was warm–in the mid-40s at 7:00–but trees were bare and more rain storms were coming.

Still, I knew it was spring. The birds told me.

While astrological spring officially starts on March 20 this year (the day of the vernal equinox), meteorological spring starts March 1. Which one do you choose? Our local groundhog, Sir Walter Wally with the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, contradicted Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction of six more weeks of winter (with all the snow they’ve had lately in Pennsylvania, I don’t blame Phil). But here in Triangle NC, I’m going with Sir Walter’s assessment that spring is around the corner.

It was over 70 degrees here this past weekend. My eyes have been itching, which means SOMETHING is pollinating. And the daffodils have started blooming in my neighborhood:

But the thing that really told me that spring was on its way was this discovery during yesterday’s walk:

I walk just about every morning, although admittedly I miss more days in the winter due to bad weather or rushed mornings where I don’t have time to walk if it doesn’t begin to get light until after 7:00. However, I almost never find feathers during the winter (other than a bunch that looked like the remains of someone’s meal). Birds hang onto their feathers in the winter; they need them.

So when I start finding them again, I know that’s a sign of spring. I found those two yesterday, and these two today:

Those were in two different places (as were the two yesterday), and slightly different colors (the left one is gray, while the right one is brown), so I think they are from two different birds. After month of not finding any feathers, I think four in two days is an acknowledgment that the season is changing.

That was confirmed when I saw this:

I know you can’t tell from that picture, but that’s a HAWK sitting on the top of a tree! I also saw him fly several times, but didn’t get a picture of that. Now, I’ve been hearing hawk calls all winter, although not as frequently as during, say, summer. So I knew they were around, but I haven’t spotted one for months. But this morning, Hawk made a return appearance and reclaimed the throne on one of the tallest trees along my walk.

This spring seems extra special because it feels like we are beginning to come out of our long coronavirus hibernation. In my county, Wake County, 14% of the population has received at least their first shot of the vaccine. With the new J&J vaccine, the supply to North Carolina is supposed to double this week. Our new cases are down to the pre-holiday NON quarantining of the holiday season (beginning of November), and deaths are down to just-post-Thanksgiving levels. Students are going back to school (NC put teachers as the 3rd priority after health care workers and those 65 and older, and RIGHTFULLY SO, I think, if you want to reopen schools). People are beginning to be able to attend sports events, albeit at sharply reduced levels.

We still have a long way to go. We still have to wear masks and stay 6 feet apart and not gather in the numbers we would like. Still, my heart is very encouraged this spring, this season of rebirth. I know better times are coming.

The birds told me so.

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