Sunday 8 March 2015. Spring Forward with Ice and Deer

At 6:50 this morning it was 27 degrees F and mostly clear, the sun just starting to assert itself on this day when it suddenly is an hour later than it was yesterday at this time. Spring forward!

As I walked out the front door was greeted by the song of an insistent cardinal, repeating what could have been interpreted as my first name. “I’m here! I’m coming!” I replied while readying Discovery for the long-anticipated ride to Meadowbrook Park.

There still was plenty of snow and ice around, but yesterday it was well above freezing, and after last week’s heavy snow and cold temperatures, the streets were mostly clear. And even though the temperature was now below freezing, it felt mild.

The moon was bright but looked slightly deflated–recently full–as it moved closer to the western horizon.

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On the way to Meadowbrook Park got yet another shot of the still-clinging erstwhile apple on “my” tree.

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Rode Discovery along Race Street, missing the efficiency and greater knee-friendliness of temporarily brake-less Rhododendron but enjoying the greater ease of turning around to see the sights (as well as cars behind me).

At Meadowbrook, the paths around and through the park were punctuated with flat icy stretches, the result of yesterday’s extensive snow melt and subsequent re-freezing.

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They merited caution, especially where the path curved and slanted downward, as just ahead of the rabbit-statue bridge, but the evenness of the surface made for mostly relaxed riding.

The sun was coming up, and with just enough clouds close to the horizon to give the sunrise some color.

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The water remained high under the rabbit-statue bridge over McCullough Creek, Davis Creek continuing to bring more water, most recently from the snow melt.

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Heard a tiny woodpecker hammering overhead, almost like a buzz.

Proceeding over the bridge, was a bit startled by the depth of the frozen-over puddle through which I plowed, the ice cracking.

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But the crossing was safely accomplished.

A little farther down the path, picked out some Culver root seed-heads to photograph as an example of the surviving forms on the late-winter prairie

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and noticed a couple of deer in the background.

Farther along, saw an amazing number of them, dark-coated and antler-less. It seemed at least two or three, up to six deer, at least, were posted at every location where I ever saw deer on past visits. The local population seemed to be converging on Meadowbrook.

But saw no humans at all on the path, which can be lovely, especially in the morning of the lost hour.

In this sweet solitude, just before the path curved and crossed Davis Creek on Meadowbrook’s southern edge, stopped to notice the sunlight coming up on the still-dormant landscape and the air warming and had a clear, strong sensation of nature full of God, of eternity in a moment.

Felt uplifted, better than “sober.” Not quite euphoria, maybe something better, more sustainable. Contentment. Could feel the new life of the coming spring stirring under the ice and the faded grass, a break with the preceding winter, something to which to look forward.

Even so, was not through with the ice on the path. There was an especially long passage around the southeastern corner,

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But it was shallow enough to pass over smoothly, albeit with concentration.

Noticed that the remaining Baptisia pods were starting to lighten with age and weather. Caught one with the sun coming up behind it.

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The temperature was not exactly balmy, but felt completely comfortable.
It still was winter, when the prairie doesn’t change so dramatically from day to day or even week to week, the way it does when new flowers are blooming and old ones fading. Still there are features, like the light, the distribution and extent of the snow and ice, or even how many deer show up, that are never the same twice and make every visit unique.

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