Three weeks ago, our favourite trail was frozen, bitterly cold and quiet. The path was laden with crusty snow, the creek was completely frozen over, and there was little wild life to be seen. But the long dark nights and biting cold days are finally giving way.
The ice has melted from the creek and its water runs fast with muddy brown water. The trees are still bare, the grass is still yellow-brown, but there are signs of life everywhere.
The Beaver has emerged from its den to gnaw on sticks along the creek’s banks. The Great Blue Heron, that has just returned from the south, wades into the fast-moving water on long pink legs. The Belted Kingfisher, with its steel-blue wings, flies along the length of the creek with its undulating flight in search of fish.
The trees are full of Rusty Black-birds chattering with their high pitched squeals. Red-Winged Blackbirds call out persistently from pale gold stalks in the marshlands. A Red-Tailed Hawk circles overhead and perches on a nearby tree.
There is movement in the low lying bushes as Song Sparrows and Juncos jockey for position. Robins, that were gone all winter, hop along the path and stir up dead leaves in search of food. Bold red Cardinals, that stayed over the winter, sing insistently from high perches in trees. Large black Turkey Vultures soar effortlessly overhead, titling with the wind.
The Deer are grazing by the creek, their fur dark brown from a winter diet of twigs and bark. A small dark-brown muskrat roots around among the grasses in the marshland. Grey and black squirrels scramble among trees branches, leaping from tree to tree.
It is a feast for the senses. It is a balm for the soul.