Thursday, March 02, 2006

A stretch of river X: Spring

This morning, as Scruffy and I were in the home stretch of our walk, we heard a loud splash close to the shore. Not a duck or a goose landing or a kid throwing a rock into the water (they only do that when the river ices over, as it had, briefly, only a week ago). No--this was a fish, the first (for me) of the season.

Spring is officially here.

Last week there was a false sign of spring--false, in that I was mistaken in what I saw. I thought I had seen ducklings swimming on the water in the very early morning, when it was just my mistaking the Canada geese for ducks and the ducks for their babies. Tricks of (dim) light, I assure you, and not my aging eyes or my ignorance of even the most basic of ornithological distinctions. But a fish's jumping is a surer sign. Fish become quite torpid in the winter, conserving energy, since so little of what they feed on is itself alive and it's harder to swim in cold water than in warm. But last night, I brushed an insect off Mrs. Meridian's back, which, thinking about it now, means that the fish now have a reason, maybe even an excuse as they might see it, to jump this morning. A link in the food chain is back in place.

I find myself a bit melancholic, interestingly, as I write this, as I contemplate spring's sure 'nuf arrival. Consider: down South the dogwoods are blooming now. They bloom before the forests start to leaf out, so as you drive down the roads you'll see them, puffs of ivory white in the midst of still-gray-brown tree trunks and shrubs. Winter, with its damp cold, is such an unpleasant time along the Gulf that the sight of the dogwoods is, for me, a welcome one. But despite my almost 6 years of living in Kansas, the novelty of snow and ice has yet to wear off. And, considering that this winter we've had only one substantial snowfall, the fish's jumping is a pretty clear indication that, true, we'll have some cold days in March, but even flurries would be a surprise now. Much-reduced chance for one more snowfall=melancholy. Add to that the fact that, sad to say, Kansas is a pretty lousy place to be if you like spring wildflowers (they just aren't here), and it adds up to a mild case of a mid-semester funk that doesn't have anything to do with school.

But it will pass. One very nice thing about spring here as opposed to the Gulf is that, well, there's an actual spring here: a leisurely couple of months of warming, as opposed to the sudden switch to heat that occurs down there. The grass will green up, the trees will bud out. A young-ish teacher's fancies will turn to thoughts of the coming 2nd 8-week's classes (week after next). The fish will be jumping more and more.

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1 comment:

fin said...

I'm allergic to pineapple. And I'm not old enough to drink. So I can only imagine your Hawaiian wine.

Please take a picture of those ducklings, if you can!