Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Kate Crowley
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Going nature's way


As I look back at the columns I wrote for May in the previous two years, I see that there is a theme of cold temperatures and even some snow as we enter this most anticipated month. While the snow has completely melted, the green up is moving slowly because of continued grey skies and temperatures well below the “average.” People are getting more and more frustrated as they look at their flower or vegetable beds and are itching to put their fingers and seeds into the soil.

I have learned over many years here in east central Minnesota not to jump the gun. I don’t put the snow shovel away until nearly the end of the month, because if I do put it away now, we can count on getting some more snow, even if it isn’t a large amount. Friends are removing dead material and layers of leaves from their gardens giving them the sense that they are really making progress when it comes to the growing season.

But, even though slow it may be, Spring will win the day. There are nights now when you can leave the bedroom windows open just a bit and revel in the sounds that have been missing for 11 months. On our property we have three small ponds that we made in our front yard and to hear the chorus frogs singing again (though it certainly isn’t melodic – and sounds more like a bunch of crickets) is fabulous. Last night I left the window open a few inches and several times during the night I heard the high pitched yipping and yodeling of coyotes.

Dawn is arriving around 6 am, but a half hour before that there are birds beginning to lend their voices to the morning chorus. I laid under the covers this morning and just let those songs fill my ears and soul with gladness. It has been so long since there was this much music around our home and far too soon it will fade away as the mad rush to court and nest reaches its peak. For two months basically, we can listen to this ephemeral concert.

Later in the morning we heard a familiar call note (it sounds like a drawn out squeak) and realized the Hermit Thrush had returned to the woods. At the same time we also heard the warbling song of the Ruby-crowned Kinglet; two new species to add to our home list. We decided to walk the trails through our forest to see if we could find more new arrivals, but it was mostly silent. Overall, the woods still look like they did in mid-November.

In last month’s column I preached patience. It appears that virtue is still needed in May 2019. I know that this week is predicted to be fairly wet and chilly, with some slightly warmer temps the following week – but it all seems like speculation to me and we’ll just have to wait and see what the weather gods have in store for us. The question is what do we do with this kind of dreary forecast?

On Friday, at the Audubon Center, I listened to the keynote speaker of the Women’s Wellness Weekend talk about gratitude and how focusing on it can actually make us feel more positive towards life and our circumstances. There are times when things are so gloomy, and the sun refuses to shine, that we start dwelling in negativity and focus on things we don’t have in our lives. But if we take a moment and really look around and see the good people and the inexplicable, remarkable beauty of nature, we can’t help but feel gratitude. That’s what I felt this morning as the day was just beginning and that’s what I hope you will feel too on many days this month.


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