Mar 14, 2008

Spring break

We finally got a break from the wet, the gloom, the gray, the chilling. Today we got a break from winter, and a sneak peak at spring.

So I took a walk, a slow walk around the local pond. Delighting in the fact that I actually needed my sunglasses, and in all the little signs of winter's hold loosening.

This plastic mesh once contained a ball of suet someone hung up for the local tit birds to help them through the winter. The most common one is the great tit, and it usually sings tee-too. But there is one in my neighborhood that sings tee-tee-too. The way the sound carries is rather strange. Although my ears can localize the source (to some local tree), it still sounds like I'm surrounded by the chirping. The tits stay all year round and love suet. The great tit's name in Norwegian is "kjøttmeis". "Kjøtt" means meat or flesh.

Beneath the tree the suet net hung in was a spot of bright green, attracting me with its message of the fresh and new. It was a baby rosehip or wild rose. Those are hardy and if not as fancy-looking as cultivated roses, certainly smell just as good. They are favorite haunt of bumble bees, and one of the nicer sounds of summer is hearing the barytone buzz of bumble bees inside a rosehip blossom, muffled by the surrounding pink petals, in search of nectar. Can't remember seeing such a young rosehip plant before, so I took this one's picture. Isn't it cute? It has thorns, just like the big bushes do.

Another thing showing signs of life and generally doing so the moment the ground thaws (and what luck: This winter it never froze), is the female willow tree. Her modest fuzzy, gray flowers are popping out here and there, making a bumpy silhouette against the sky. I rather like the subtle pink in the upper buds in this picture, as well as the speckles on the lower flowers. Norwegians call these flowers kittens ("kattunger"), and I guess that's also how the tree got its English name: Pussy willow. Later, the males will bloom and produce larger, tuberous blossoms covered in bright yellow pollinators. Norwegians call those goslings ("gåsunger"). So in case you were ever wondering what in the world would come of a mating between a goose and a cat, here's the answer: A tree. Weird, huh.

The sight of this pile of ash transported me three months into the future, pulling me away from spring and right to Midsummer's Eve. This is the site of our neighborhood bonfire, and behind me is a local soccer field that we fill up with barbeque grills, tables, chairs and neighbors. We watch the bonfire burn and eat and drink and gab. Maybe there's music and dancing; there certainly are games and entertainment for the kids. It's been a while since I last attended our local Midsummer celebration, so maybe this year I'll be watching a new pile of ashes get added to this one.

I hope you enjoyed walking around the pond with me on this early spring day.

3 comments:

Miz UV said...

Nice photos, especially that last one.

Sparkling Red said...

Yes, I did enjoy the walk around the pond. Beautiful spring photos!

Although I can't deny that my inner 14-year-old boy couldn't resist snickering at all the references to "tits".

Keera Ann Fox said...

Thanks, Paula. It is a very photogenic pond.

Spark, he didn't snicker at "pussy"? ;-)