According to the calendar, spring was supposed to be here about a month ago. I have been waiting impatiently for its arrival. Winter seems to have lasted forever with cold weekdays and stormy weekends. Every weekend was worse than the one before. A person had to be really determined if they were going to get out and enjoy the outdoors.
Signs of spring have been slowly creeping up on us. Grass is starting to turn green and flowers are poking up through the last snow cover. More importantly, the turkeys are beginning to gobble.
This is a sure sign of spring. I previously have seen robins poking around in snow looking for worms, having returned two or three weeks before they should have. They do not have an accurate calendar. Buzzards are supposed to know when to return from the south. I have seen them standing at the side of the road trying to gain nourishment from a frozen road-killed carcass. Their accuracy rating ranks right up there with the local television weatherman. The only ones I trust are the turkeys.
Since hearing the melody of a turkey gobbling in the distance, I have seen many more signs that spring is surely here. A pair of wood ducks has been checking out a tree in our front yard, looking for any hole that might be suitable for a nest. They apparently are more concerned about a nesting cavity than proximity to water, since the closest pond to our house is a mile away. They may not know geography, but they do know the weather. Trumpeter swans, cormorants and Canadian geese are stopping by our lake on their annual migratory route to nesting sights in the north. When these birds stop by for a few days rest, I know they are sure of warmer weather ahead.
My wife and I took a ride to the farm this evening, just to get out and get some fresh air. We saw several deer, some with rounded abdomens, looking as though they were not too far from the date they were due to have a fawn. Driving down the hill toward the lake, several gobblers strutted for a hen, the last rays of sunlight turning their feathers iridescent copper and green. A goose was nesting on the island, stretched out flat thinking we could not see her. A group of swans swam in the distance, too far away to even see if they were banded, but made a pretty picture as the stark white reflected in the blue water with the green hillside in the background.
We spent a few minutes savoring the quiet and the first signs of warmth we had enjoyed for several months. When I got out to close the gate, I heard a turkey gobble as he was heading toward his roost. This is the sign I needed. We have survived another winter. The cycle of life has begun again. Spring really has finally arrived.
Walter Scott is an outdoors enthusiast and freelance writer from Bloomfield, Iowa.