Spring watch

Out to Pope’s Island on Sunday for a walk. I saw very few ducks and waterfowl on the harbor. Two months ago, I could stand on Pope’s Island and see hundreds of ducks, loons, and geese; Sunday I saw just two pairs of Bufflehead and one pair of Common Goldeneye; all the rest have left for the season, heading north to wherever they breed.

We always talk about what we gain in spring — flowers, green leaves, warmth — but spring means the end of things too. It’s a poignant moment for me when the trees fully leaf out, and suddenly you can no longer see things you saw all winter. Every year when this happens I can’t help thinking to myself, I can’t wait until the leaves fall off the trees again so I can regain that sense of wide open space.

But spring has been on hold for the past couple of weeks. It’s gotten cool again, with the light snow last Wednesday, and temperatures below freezing the last few nights. The flowers that began to bloom in those warm days two weeks ago are still in bloom; the banks of forsythia bushes along Route 18 are still just barely washed with a haze of a few yellow flowers. I love these cold nights and cool days when spring pauses in its rush towards summer.