Winter ended late in up here in tall timber country. Even if you drive from the Dakotas due East, it's still "Up North" and opening weekend of fishing season.
Been a good bit of talk hereabouts that the late April snowstorms that turned 60-degree days into 18-inch snow blankets were tough on the wildlife. Certainly the pines and birches took their share of damage. Broken branches, bent over tree trunks, some split and splintered beyond repair.
But it's spring, and spring can be a great healer.
Already, in just one day we've seen trumpeter swans, and a kingfisher, and evening grosbeaks and rose-breasted grosbeaks, and loons on the lake, with mallards and wood ducks, and scaups, and bluejays, and a downy woodpecker, and purple finches, and purple martins, and... and most are paired up. Romancin', looking for likely nesting spots.
Some are birds just getting established in the area, like the swans, ranging out from the Tamarack Wildlife refuge. And some are old friends we feared had gone away like the buffalo back in the late 1800s. But the evening grosbeaks are back, their brash, bright yellow makin' sunshine on this overcast spring day.
The natural world's got a parallel in the political world this crisp evening. Birds migrating north again...voters migrating back to their Democratic home. Some signing on and registering for the very first time in their lives. Inspired by a rare bird who's callin' hope.
Even the hummingbird is back from South of the border, drawn in by the bright red cap on the sunflower feeder, but lookin' for a little sweet sugar instead. We weren't expecting him so soon, but here he is, and already we've got the syrup simmering on the stovetop.
Spring's back at long last, and we're going to make the most of it, renewing the well, replenishing the feeders, planting the seeds...for the good harvest in the fall.
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"The price of freedom is eternal vigilance."