Signs of Spring

Although we’re very much in the grip of some seriously cold air at the moment, I know that spring is on the way. Each year I watch for the signs; each year nature does not disappoint.
Sign #1: Light
We live on a tilted planet. As the tilted earth makes its way around the sun, the amount of light we receive each day changes. If you’re in the northern hemisphere, like me, you’re getting more and more minutes of sunlight as the days go by. I notice this each morning as I sit with my cup of coffee, and a cat or two, and gaze out the sunroom windows. A month ago, I woke up to darkness. Now, at the same time, the warm colors of the rising sun are there to greet me.  A sure sign that spring is coming!

Watching the sun rise… a little earlier each day!

Sign #2:  Song
Bird song, that is. If you watch–and listen to–birds, you know that they have a wide variety of songs and other vocalizations as they go about their daily bird tasks. As spring approaches, the music changes. Each year, at the end of January, my mom and I wait to hear the cardinal begin his spring singing. Loud and clear, he proclaims that the days are getting longer and it’s time to get busy establishing a territory and finding a mate. Other birds are doing the same… around here the chickadees and the titmice are especially noticeable.

Looks like winter, but the birds know spring is near.

Sign #3: Stars
The nighttime sky has its own way of announcing the passing seasons. As we make our yearly trip around the Sun, we get to see different parts of the night sky. Certain constellations are prominent at certain times of the year. Orion, a popular favorite, makes his appearance during the winter months and is typically known as a winter constellation. As spring nears, though, he spends less and less time in the sky until he finally gives way to spring constellations. He’s such a fine constellation that it’s sad to see him go.

Bright orange Betelgeuse, dazzling blue Rigel, softly glowing nebula…         what’s not to like about this guy?

Never fear, though… he’ll be back in the late fall! Nature does not disappoint.

“O, wind, if winter comes, can spring be far behind?”
Percy Bysshe Shelley


Pig in a blanket (of snow).

Good morning! On my way out to the car this morning, our lovely front garden pig greeted me from underneath his fluffy white blanket. He didn’t look any more annoyed than he usually does. Wrap up, boys and girls, it’s cooooold out there!