To New Beginnings

The pussy willows were in full bloom today, and life is waking up again throughout the estate. Today I even saw a butterfly -a tortoiseshell type, the earliest I’ve ever seen one.  A butterfly afficionado I know says it might be a record.  Along with Mourning Cloaks, tortoiseshell butterflies are seen in the earliest days of spring. I also spied jumping spiders in the meadow, and incredibly, a grasshopper. The Northern Water Snake that naps near the bridge down by the pump house is awake, and a turtle plopped into the water as I walked along the sunny side of the pond.  Bluebirds circle the newly-cleaned bird boxes. Skunk cabbage is well along now and woodcock are skulking in the woods surrounding the fields.  They rest and forage in the wet woods during the day and come out at dusk to do their bizarre dancing and calling.  Wood frogs are awake, too.

skunk cabbage

We’ll have cold, raw days yet before spring takes a real foothold, but the first sunny days of the season provide such relief even after an uneventful winter.  Today you could almost hear flowers pushing up earth and green shoots unfurling. Beginnings are so much fun.  First date, first dance, first day of school, first car, first love, first kiss, first flower, first caterpillar, first red-wing blackbirds, first phoebes. You might say that without endings, there wouldn’t be beginnings and in a limited sense this may be true.  Organically speaking, there is a cycle of birth and death that doesn’t vary.  But there are human beginnings that seemingly spring from nowhere, and, heaven knows, unforeseen conclusions. Beginnings are rarely bitter, even in plants this is true.  Dandelion salad, for example, is lovely when the leaves are small.

Circumstances and sentiment can all too often dictate endings, when bonds become in their own way overgrown and too big for the container. Last misunderstanding, last farewell, last regret.  At least nature’s endings are free of recrimination. The past melts away graciously and makes way for the new.  Last snowfall, first snowdrop.

See you on the trails,
Diane Tucker, Estate Naturalist


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9 Responses to “To New Beginnings”

  1. Bridget Willard Says:

    That’s a great post. I felt like I was on your walk right along side you.

  2. Diane Tucker Says:

    Bridget, I wish you had been!

  3. Cindy Stanley Says:

    I’m sorry it took me so long to subscribe! Thank you for a new beginning for me, and your wonderful message in this story. I want to go on another walk with you!

  4. Joan Benham Says:

    Beautiful original thoughts, written well. (Correct the spelling of phoebe and this will be perfect.)

    Thank you, Diane

  5. Diane Tucker Says:

    Thanks, Joan! Darn those typos!

  6. Patsy Says:

    Great post! Enjoyed reading it. But I always do!

  7. Gravity’s Rainbow » Blog Archive » Berry Go Round #26 Says:

    […] Diane from Hill-Stead’s Nature Blog uses the emerging Connecticut plants and animals to remind us that spring is a time for rebirth and new beginnings.  She starts with a pussy willow in full bloom, which brought back fond memories for me – pussy willow was one of the first plants I learned to identify as a child. […]

  8. Richard @ The Nature Blog Says:

    I only recently found this site but am really enjoying taking a look through it. Spring is really my favorite season as all the life starts to appear again so this post was of particular interest to me. Here in the UK we had our coldest winter for 30 years and it has certainly delayed spring by a bit but we’re now seeing spring migrant birds arriving and bees and butterflies reasonably regularly. Pretty exciting stuff.

    • Diane Tucker Says:

      Richard, Thank you for reading! I will visit your site-“the nature blog” seems right up my alley! We had a fairly mild winter, with no real, deep cold. Right now we are enjoying freakish summer weather, which is forcing everything out early. It will be tough to see the warblers coming through what with the leaves so early! Regards, Diane

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