Tuesday, March 18, 2014


     Think of it, Dog! All through this winter---brutally cold, too long and too snowy---you have seen no life in our land. It's been more like the Arctic; unusual for northeast Ohio; and you have reacted with frustrating boredom. Your short-haired, big body can't take the cold, and you and your mistress cannot play outdoors. Your soccer ball won't roll in deep snow, and you and your lady slip and slide all over the driveways and walks...
     Now, slowly and later than normal, the mid-March sun has gained strength, and at last the earth has begun to respond in hit-and-miss fashion. With a random day here and there in the 30s or 40s or 50s, we feel oddly comfortable after the arctic extremes that have reigned for so many months.
     This week we are seeing a softening. The night-time low temperatures are mostly staying near freezing and rising a bit in the day. The grass is beginning to appear here and there after our winter without it. And today the sun is bringing us up to the 50s!
     There by the window, Dog, you are driving us nuts with your barking. And what is the cause? You are seeing the squirrels!
     Now you REALLY go ape, and you urge us to share what you're seeing; and what IS it?
     It's the mallards! a courting couple down in the creek, trolling the waters in peace in the sunshine.
      In this winter valley that has seemed to collect all the cold in one place, the mallards are victory. Their arrival may be later than normal, but they are an absolute message of springtime.
      Bark all you want, Dog; the mallards are welcome, and we can rejoice!

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