Reflections: Spring sprung, here’s to a longer summer

Ah, yes, a gentle taste of spring. A taste, I say, because it certainly appears it wasn’t meant to be a very big helping.

When that wonderful first warm day appeared, I spent a bit of time visiting flower beds, admiring the hollyhocks that have started to sprout as they peek out. I imagine they’re trying to decide whether or not it‘s really time to come out of hibernation. I’d vote no.

I spent time wandering the yard, welcoming back robins from their vacation in the South. I watched for bluebirds. I had received a heads-up call that they were already nest-building in Muskegon. And so I have been watching. Waiting. Hoping.

As I did all that I wondered if the bluebird couple that visited last year planned again this year to use our home as their birdhouse. They renovated a knothole and moved in. Actually, they removed the knothole. Built a nest. Created eggs. Cracked into birds. Some birds are protected. We old birds are not. But, you know, should they return, we’d welcome them in a heartbeat. Our house is their house. Or is it the other way around?

They were much nicer to cope with than the flicker that apparently decided to teach them the technique of constructing a birdhouse. He earlier carved out a nest site for his family to be raised in on the north side of the house. Those birds and the rest of their story is material for another day.

Back to springtime. Did you enjoy it?

Well, as I write this early Monday morning, I do so after briefly watching the news. Unfortunately, I also got a glimpse of the weather. Spring has sprung. Winter is about to stomp on us all over again. According to what I saw, instead of everything coming up roses, it will be snowball-producing weather and slippery roads come Tuesday. And Wednesday. And nuts, I say, that’s just plain nuts.

I watched deer a few days back out on a nearby hill. They watched me back. Armed with a camera, I took pictures of them. They just wandered about on that hill from grassy spaces, through a patch of snow, and into another grassy spot where some grazed and others just folded themselves up and watched the crazy lady with the camera perched in the car.

They didn’t mind me. I was tickled to see them. Then I remembered that just the night before we heard in the distance the blood-curdling screams of coyotes again. First time in months. I thought perhaps they had been eliminated by hunters last fall as they chased and killed deer in many middle-of-the-night runs, screaming as they raced through the valley and woods.

Apparently, with the furnace running and the windows closed, we just didn’t hear them the past few months. Now we know they’re still around. Seeing those deer just sunning themselves as they curled up so peacefully, seeming to pose for the camera or stood like silhouettes and watched intently, I wondered how many of them will survive. Are they old hands at out-running coyotes or have they not heard one close on their trail? What about the fawns? But so it is.

I know there was a time a few years back when we had 55 turkeys feeding on the hill out back. They plopped down in the snow on that hill, full themselves and waited for the rest to finish. Last summer, I believe we saw but one turkey wandering about on the hill for a time. Then we heard coyotes. Never saw her again.

People are still talking this Monday morning about the thunder clashing last night. How likely is that?

So now, this Monday, I learn that we’re already under a winter storm watch. How likely is that? Well, if you know Michigan at all, pretty likely. Today’s forecast called for fog. Got it. Getting worse. Of course, the real forecast is foggy with a trip to Big Rapids likely. Actually, needed.

Later in the day the forecast probably changed a bit. It would then likely be fog changing over to a mix of snow and freezing rain, with a good chance of a trip to Barryton in the late afternoon followed by a trip home in the early evening. The winter storm watch for the area will continue. Or grow up to be a warning.

Then Tuesday was next in line. Tuesday’s are pretty predictable in some ways. Primarily in the way they show up right after Monday and slightly before Wednesday. So Tuesday for me was to be traveling out on a couple of stories, making a trip to Cadillac in hopes of selling a house (six bedrooms, full basement, family room with fireplace, garage, in town near an elementary school).

By the time you read this, I will know how Tuesday went. Possibly cancelled. Oh, not the day itself, but the traveling. Cadillac may be put on hold. The house-showing may put on pause.

So, I say, short spring, wasn’t it? Spring sprung. Hope summer lingers a little longer. Then we plunge through fall and right into the winter cycle, which if that cycle referred to laundry, technically could be called soak. Or normal. Ah, yes. Welcome to my neighborhood. Come visit again next week.