Spring is for exploring. The season of peeling back winter’s covering to see what’s coming is a bit early this year. That’s good, considering our juxtaposition now of mostly staying home except for when we want to seek the enjoyment and comfort of the outdoors.
“In spring I am prone to wretched excess,” wrote Annie Dillard, naturalist explorer/author in her epic book “Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.” She vowed, probably without success, to one spring watch the progression of the season in a calm and orderly fashion.
That’s hard. We know what’s coming, usually, but not when. The first robin normally startles me, arriving unannounced before the vernal equinox. It is a sign, as the snowpack dwindles, to start exploring.
There are both ends of the spectrum in the woodlands and meadows. What damage or death did winter leave behind? What new life or eye-openers are emerging. Are those the first pussy willows?
I have started exploring, not sure what I’m looking for or will find beyond the usual deer antlers and skulls, agates in a spring creek, or a wasp nest built tough enough to withstand winter.
What else I may find is the whole point of looking. I anticipate the unknown, what I might see if I simply take the time to look, and to see as an inquisitive child does. One spring it was a dead coyote with no visible sign of how it died. Another year it was a piece of abandoned farm machinery suddenly in plain sight before the grasses and bushes grew wild.
It might be as simple as a roll of barbed wire along a fence line, causing me to sit in the spring sunshine and wonder who rolled the wire to its final resting spot, and what that day and those times were like.
A turkey gobbles, and between its calls the rushing creek fills the void. I look up to see the silent, heavy flight of the great blue heron. Now, my senses are on full alert. Exciting, enticing and encouraging, this exploration.
Greschner is Rice Lake Chronotype sports editor.