Burroughs Backyard

Backyard biology from a field ecologist's perspective

Tardy Spring – a finished season in haiku

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With busy changes in life and increasing field work, I’ve been remiss in recounting the movement of the seasons as they happen. March was a month of transition: in like a lion, sitting like a coyote, then out like a lamb. Much of it was cold and snow-covered, but a rather abrupt weather transition in the last weeks led to all sorts of spring delights. Then came April, and then May, and now June and July….and still I hadn’t written about those early-spring wonders! Shame on me!

It was special to be outdoors so much, because each day brought a little bit more of the spring with it. While I can’t completely capture that here, I’ll attempt to impart the wonder of the transitions with (loosely structured) haiku.

Snow-covered starting
Month of transition, surprise
Abrupt warm ending

Blanket of snowfall
Skunk cabbage flowers emerge
Burning tidy round holes

Vernal pools melt first
Vocal chorus of wood frogs
For a few short days

Freezing nights abate
Peepers emerge, salamanders
Crossing icy roadways

Widow’s cloak butterfly
Floating across still-brown land
What will you eat?

First snake of the spring
Young garter black and yellow
Basking in the sun

Hepatica blooming
White flowers against brown leaves
The rest of spring waits

Slowly awakening
Every day a new emergence
Still cold at night

Lowland buds swelling
Not ready to open yet
Early birds return

Warblers start singing
Black-and-white, yellow-rumped; myrtle
Catching fresh insects

Wearing a bug-net
The biologist finds frogs
Hopping in the swamp

Season progresses
Changes from one day to next
My swamp blooms yellow

The old farmhouse waits
As seasons waft around it
Magnolia-scented breeze

One week is early
Forsythia in full bloom
The next week is late

Maple leaves explode
Overnight it seems. Says Frost:
“Nature’s first green is gold”

Turtles out basking
Black lumps on logs dot the banks
Is it warm enough?

Field preparations
Dressing for the day before
Fickle temperatures

Snake surveys resume
Reasonable camping weather
What fun to be outside!

A herp survey finds
9 reptile-amphibian species
It’s almost summer!

One thought on “Tardy Spring – a finished season in haiku

  1. You are too cool for school!

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