By Bruce Stambaugh
Finally, it really is spring! I was beginning to think we would never receive its blessings.
I for one am certainly glad to embrace May. In Ohio, it’s the calendar’s conduit between a long cold, wet winter and early spring, like we have experienced this year, and summer’s usual balmy offerings.
Springtime has much to offer nature lovers. She is especially mesmerizing. Spring lulls you to sleep with her vivaciousness, her lusty beauty and verdant perfumes.
However, you have to be alert, or you could miss a few of her best offerings. In our hustle and bustle to catch up to what we think is important we may miss her most amiable samplings.
May is one of the main accomplices to this annual transition from hibernation to horticulture. The month has a lot to offer.
We have to pay attention though to absorb it all because the transforming processes evolve so quickly. One day we notice the maple tree buds swelling. The next, it seems, the full canopy has unfurled. How and when did that happen?
To grasp the full measure of spring requires the honing of all of our senses. For those poor souls with pollen or grass allergies, no reminder is likely needed.
Spring, and especially May, is anything but quiet. The spring peepers are the first to break loose. Their noisy outbursts are their celebrative acknowledgements that spring has arrived. The amphibious cacophony is music to our ears.
Just one sunny spring day beckons buttery coltsfoot and dainty spring beauties. They brighten dusky roadsides and carpet forest floors and spacious yard-lots alike. Yellow and purple wild violets and lacy trilliums soon follow in all their grace and glory.
Clumpy lawns have already been mowed, evening the emerald patchwork from one neighborhood to the next until the prodigious dandelions appear and reappear. Try as you might, there is no obliterating them. Overnight, their yellowy blooms turn to silky seedpods, which succumb to certain spring gales and find a home just around the corner.
For avid bird lovers, this is prime time for migrating birds, especially songbirds. A whole host of magnificently colored wood warblers, Golden-winged, Yellow-rump, and Black and White among them, pass through our area on their way north. A few, like the convivial Yellow Warbler and gregarious Baltimore Orioles, will stay to nest and brighten the days with their vigorous choruses.
American Robins have already chosen their first nesting spots, and not always in the choicest locations. Mud-based nests on door wreaths or porch lights are only temporary inconveniences to those who enjoy their early morning wake up calls without setting the alarm clock.
The sooty Chimney Swifts have returned and chatter as they snatch dinner with spring’s first batch of insects. American Goldfinches seemingly changed to their day glow yellow and contrasting black overnight.
Native shrubs and ornamental flowering trees light up the landscape with their rainbow of colors. One day the neighbor’s giant Magnolia is bursting in pink bloom. The next, her Cinderella gown morphs into a colorful comforter spread on the ground beneath.
Just like a fast moving thunderstorm, the rubies of spring don’t last long. Will we grant ourselves the privilege to gather them in?
It pays huge personal dividends to be alert and watch as spring magnifies the hills and hollows with sights and sounds and fragrances for all to behold. Spring is here. Let’s enjoy it before it’s gone.
© Bruce Stambaugh 2013