Resident Hecksher Park swans are not wasting any time. This year they are frugally refeathering their home from last year, right under a boardwalk along the pond. They’ve learned to disregard the constant stream of photographers, children, and generally curious.
Just about everything else is moving right along _ daffodils opening, trees starting to blossom and leaf, grass patches greening, ducks chasing each other, birds performing all kinds of rituals, and squirrels crazily dashing about the trees. We remain fifteen or twenty degrees below “normal”, but normal averages are just a human fiction. I may resent the chill, but to most living entities it is just business as usual.
Cheap shot! Who doesn’t love daffodils, at this time of year. Purple bulbs are majestic, white are pure, but yellow just jumps out with happiness. And the trumpet shape is unmatched by any other flower throughout the year. So many of these naturalize, over time, whole fields become golden as the grass turns emerald.
Of course, in a sense, daffodils are just another invasive species. I don’t hear a lot of people calling for their prompt removal and extermination to let native plants have more of a chance. That doesn’t mean there aren’t fanatics out there somewhere _ this society sprouts cult narrowness with the same wild abandon as the narcissus themselves.
Typical April schizophrenia. The grass is taking off, and if you examine it closely you see the weeds may have been a little late out of the starting blocks, but they are hitting stride. On the other hand, the trees are patiently awaiting a few more signals and have hit snooze control. I let the birds, which you can’t hear but are everywhere around me, make the final call here. April and spring, they sing.
I try to keep my moods from bouncing along with the weather. Moods are easily affected _ happy sunny day, sad rainy day _ or changed _ sunny day freezing and disappointing, rainy day warm and misty and gently mysterious. Of course, I can ignore it entirely and get on with my business, but that also seems a poor way to appreciate the miracle of existence.
Pussy willows become reliable when the seeds fully open. Not quite as cute, but perhaps more interesting. These days almost painfully blue sky is not yet screened by any sign of leaves, although here and there maples are beginning to brighten up with red blooms like a fuzzy gauze thrown over their crowns.
Typically these days everything looks luscious, and I feel guilty even being here typing. I rush out the door to enjoy the moment _ and quickly run back in to get something warmer. There is only so long I can sit around without starting to chill, and only so long at my age that I can keep active enough to stay warm. Ah, but on the other hand, I am not trapped in an office, glumly staring out a window if I am lucky enough to have one near.
Vines are leaping forward, with their thornier cousins. Meanwhile, our maritime industry surges into high gear, unwrapping, touching up, tuning, polishing, lowering, towing, mooring. Each day more craft fill every nook of the long harbor, and already empty docksides are distant memories.
It’s true that I rarely see any of these boats actually heading out into the sound _ the few that do come from a very small selection, day after day. The important thing, apparently, for those that can afford it, is to have a vessel ready so you can brag about it to friends and relatives, just in case the weather should suddenly turn into July. I think most of these tend to voyage no more than once or twice a year anyway.
Sometimes you have to look really closely, but these weeks growth comes on like an avalanche. A few pebbles, a couple of sprouts, so what _ then suddenly the whole hillside is in motion or the grasses and shrubs had popped into green. In a few weeks, parts of the scenery will have completely changed. It’s amazing we can take that all for granted.
April has its ups and downs. One day you think you can lie in the sun and soak up the warmth, but even a cloud can chill you right down. Other days you need to dress for sharp cold, and suddenly the sun breaks out or the wind veers south and you are sweating a river. Keeps us on our toes.
Blood seems to move fast as the sap rises. People pull off their heavy clothes and pull out their various summer machines and activities. Obviously kayaking is easily done in the spring _ many go white water rafting in water colder than this. I’m sure it takes more fortitude than I could summon, even if I wanted to rock on waves.
I suppose the nice thing about right now _ even more than the fall _ is that you can clearly see the houses and the structure of the underlying terrain. Hills which soon disappear into a general green blur are still crisp with tiny valleys, cliffs, and yards. It’s a good time to become familiar with areas that are increasingly off-limits to foot traffic.