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Meandering with My Mutt: The forever gift of spring

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Ah to be outdoors! It seems as though Mother Nature has overnight festooned herself in a resplendent cloak of green, gracing us with the glories of spring.

The day finds Noah and me once again hiking at one of our favorite locales, Lake Warren game lands in Nockamixon Township. It’s alive with fauna, birds singing and insects buzzing, but at the moment we are the sole human occupants, making it a prime opportunity for training.

Puppy Noah obediently complies when called, sitting upon command – more on his haunches than on his butt – legs trembling in his eagerness to be off again. I can easily read his thoughts, “Let me go, let me go, I have places to explore, stuff to sniff.” Although usually compliant, occasionally Noah’s upraised nose begins to quiver, picking up a tantalizing scent that’s just impossible to resist, like the sirens of the sea, and he loses all self-control, bolting off.

Far out on the lake, a cormorant leisurely wades before skillfully diving beneath the surface in search of its next meal. Cormorants are excellent divers, known to descend to depths of 150 feet or more, propelled by their webbed feet, their wings acting as rudders. Out of the water, cormorants can often be seen with wings outstretched, drying out in the sun and breeze, assuming a position that always reminds me of the Batman logo.

Spring provides a spectacular opportunity for viewing wildflowers, and today I count 14 different varieties including four types of violets: common blue violet, birdsfoot violet (with leaves resembling the feet of a bird), downy yellow violet, and dog violet. In addition, several ephemerals are making an appearance including spring beauty, bloodroot (named for the red sap contained within its underground stem), trout lily (its brown-mottled leaves resemble the markings of a trout), and rue anemone. These blooms appear in early spring, benefiting from the abundance of sun shining upon the forest floor before the canopy of the over story begins to fully leaf out. As their moniker suggests, once having flowered, ephemerals disappear completely, but with the promise of a return visit the following spring.

To quote poet Mary Oliver from her book, “Dog Songs; Poems”: “Come with me into the woods, where spring is advancing, as it does no matter what, not being singular or particular, but one of the forever gifts, and certainly visible.” This spring may the allure of the season tempt you outdoors to enjoy the multitude of wonderful wildflowers, as well as the plentiful wonders courtesy of Mother Nature.

Cindy Woodall resides in Upper Black Eddy.


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