Finicky weather–rain one day and then another, sunshine the next, and then snow in the forecast as it is for Tuesday morning. But still, all the signs are there.
Take for instance the clumps of deer hair that have been shed and now decorate areas where the ungulates do bed.
And the masses of eggs attached to twigs and vegetation within vernal pools, the Spotted Salamander’s a milky white contrasting the Wood Frogs tapioca presentation.
Then there’s the winter firefly in one of his favorite habitats where the water stands still . . . until a breeze ripples across.
And within the water column, the wriggling Larval Mosquitoes continuously somersault, while the Phantom Midge floats as it waits for a meal to pass by.
Drone flies do just that–fly, their compound eyes announcing alarm as they take in every teensy bit of movement in the surrounds.
The sight of a wooly caterpillar might make one think the season is six months out, but a cryoprotectant in its tissues so it can literally freeze solid, has thawed and the fuzzy little bear crawls.
The Saco River with Mount Tom behind was another sign, for over its banks had it flowed.
And then, where previously I’d spotted only the vixen, not one or two, but five kits frolicked.
Mom was nowhere in sight, but I trusted she had sent them out to get some fresh air while she cleaned the den.
A move to another location, brought more sights and scents and sounds, but one of the most delightful was that of the sweet-fern–its spicy aroma suddenly filling the air.
And at a semipermanent pool, a few wrucks chorused by distant Wood Frogs.
But by my feet, Eastern Red-spotted Newts swam about camouflaged by last year’s foliage.
One climbed another, and then slide off, any mating waiting for another time. Curiously it also mounted a Bull Frog tadpole, but quickly moved on when it wasn’t well received.
The chunky Bull Frog larvae had overwintered as tadpoles, but their metamorphosis into adult form probably won’t be completed by the end of this season or the next.
In fact, it can take several years for them to completely develop. In the meantime, they sat motionless basking in the diluted sunlight offered.
There was so much to see on this day and only so much time, but from the Red Maple flowers falling to the ground to the Tamarack needles growing with new life, I knew that every moment was fleeting.
This is a time to not let life pass you by. Rather–be like the Bull Frog tadpoles and slow down.
Make time to watch. Every. Single. Subtle. Change. For even though the temperature may still feel raw at times and snow is in the forecast, it really is spring in western Maine. Don’t be a doubting Thomas or you’ll miss the transformation.