At 6000 feet, spring does not necessarily arrive in accordance with meteorological or astronomical predictions. It does not appear suddenly, but approaches stealthily. A green shoot here, a pink blossom there, an emerald sheen on the lawn, emerging tree buds that suffuse aspens in a hue of red, and cottonwoods in a tinge of gold.
The residual snow on north-facing slopes or in the shade of a rock or tree is coarse and crunches under foot. It lingers until the lengthening days and the increasing angle of the sun succeed in melting these last vestiges of winter.
Migratory birds commence their journey to their summer breeding grounds. Apart from flora’s cheery colors and contagious vitality, the avian presence, vivacity, and music-making contribute to make this coming one my favorite season.
I have already celebrated the return of the robins and their lovely voices in a previous post. Only last week I saw my first Say’s Phoebe, back from its wintering grounds in Mexico. This flycatcher of the dry country perches on fences, frequently dips its tail, and dives for insects.
A flying sapphire whose return from southern climes also has come to signify spring is the ethereal Mountain Bluebird. Unlike other members of the thrush family, it prefers open meadows and alights on the top of bushes, trees, or power lines. During its hunt for insects, it appears like a cerulean flash through one’s field of vision.
The German romantic poet Eduard Mörike might not have realized it, but in my mind this avian jewel represents the blue ribbon of his 1828 poem (my apologies to Mr. Mörike for my translation):
Springtime lets her ribbon blue
Flutter through the air again.
Sweet, familiar scents
Sweep across the land.
Violets dream already,
Dream of their emergence.
-Hark, a soft sound, harp-like, from afar.
Yes, it is you, spring.
I have perceived you.
Wishing all of us a beautiful spring (with apologies to my friends in the Southern Hemisphere where summer is now ending).
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