Spring began this year on March 20, or so the astronomers tell us. Today was one hour and five minutes longer than March 20, and four hours and twelve minutes longer than the shortest days last December.   The sun is returning!

But what to make of the snow that fell only three days ago? How can we know it’s really spring when the ice is still on the pond and a fresh coat of white covers everything outside?

Fresh snow fell on the night of April 8.

Fresh snow fell on the night of April 8.

Nature reassures us that spring truly has arrived or is at least “on the way”.   The ice along the edge of the pond is melting.

The ice along the edge of the pond is thinning.

The ice along the edge of the pond is thinning.

We see open water now - not much yet open!

We see open water now – not much yet open!

Our dirt road became a muddy morass, a sure sign of the season (we call it mud season).

The ruts were deep four days ago.

The ruts were deep four days ago.

Many migratory birds have returned from the south. A great blue heron flew up from Cobb Meadow the same morning we woke to snow. Birds are singing their spring songs – I heard my first phoebe today. The male goldfinches are changing into their mating plumage.

Male goldfinches are taking on color.

Male goldfinches are taking on color.

Pussy willows are in bloom.

Pussy willows in bloom

Pussy willows in bloom

A closeup of the female flower

A closeup of the female flower

The first snowdrops have emerged. Spring bulbs are pushing up, their green spears literally piercing the leaves that cover the flowerbeds.

Snowdrops

Snowdrops

Bulbs pushing up

Bulbs pushing up

The red bark of this viburnum is glowing red now – perhaps it was months ago and I didn’t notice.  RedOsier

Soon to come: the skunk cabbage in the wet areas by the side of the road and then the tiny magenta flowers of hazel.

Water flows along the roadside.

Water flows along the roadside.

Skunk cabbage will soon be growing in this wet area by the road.

Skunk cabbage will soon be growing in this wet area by the road.

The male hazelnut catkins were coated in ice a few mornings back.

The male hazelnut catkins were coated in ice a few mornings back.

Soon the male flowers will stretch out and the females will burst into magenta bloom.

Soon the male flowers will stretch out and the females will burst into magenta bloom.

Today was the last day of boiling off sap at Morning Star Maple in Dublin. The maple season has come to an end as the days become warm and the nights not so cold.

The evaporator is boiling maple sap down to syrup - last day of the season!

The evaporator is boiling maple sap down to syrup – last day of the season!

All this tells us: spring really is here. Even two weeks ago, on a very cold and windy day, we knew this – if we had faith. Faith can know things that are not immediately evident!

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