Wahoo! It’s official, spring is on the way

I love having the luxury to pay attention. I was up here in my aerie fooling around when Ben interrupted me to tell me there were two great horned owls very near the house, calling.

And sure enough, there were–a male and a female. Like the spotted owls, they have similar calls in different pitches, in this case a “Hoo, hoo-hoo, hoo, hoo, hoo.” Their conversation went something like this (I’m translating loosely):

He: “Hey, I’m a manly sort of fellow over here with a great big confortable nest.” [This much is true. We’ve seen the nest.]

She: “Well, you certainly sound interesting.” [She moves a little closer. Owls have a truly feminist perspective on mating. In all of the ones I know about, the male stays in one location and performs the owl equivalent of a wolf whistle and the females decides if she a) wants to respond, and b) likes what she hears. If she does, she goes to him.]

He: “Come a little closer, honey, and I’ll buy you a mouse.”

She: “I’m not sure. I generally don’t hang out in industrial districts.” [Our generator is running, and by now we’ve opened and closed the front door a couple of times. She moves a little further away. We listen for a little while longer, go back inside, and shut the door for the last time.]

A minute later Ben says, “She’s back, and coming in closer.” We’ve decided to leave them to their courting and not disturb them any further. Mr. Owl really does have a great nest. If she can overcome her aversion to the rumble of Honda, they have a great future together. And we can use all the great horned owls we can get. They eat a huge quantity of rodents, and we have a huge quantity of rodents that need eating.

Today I saw the first trillium sprouts. I love this flower. For half or more of the year it’s totally underground and invisible (sort of a Persephone-like plant). But come spring, they pop up and in what seems like a matter of hours (although it’s really a matter of days, even a couple of weeks), they’re blooming with their incredible little moonlight-white three-petal blossoms. Then the blossom fades slowly to shades of purple and forms a seed pod. The triple leaf stays a lot longer. It has to grow and feed the root. If it’s disturbed, it may not come back for as much as 5-7 years. That’s how long it takes the root to reach maturity again if it doesn’t get fed.

I know where most of the trilliums in my yard are. I say “most” because I always let the pods go to seed and every year there are one or two new ones to surprise me. There are areas of the yard that are almost holy ground. The rough and tumble guys that help me brush and clear know where they are and tiptoe respectfully around them. They know about the ugly fate that awaits people who disrespect the trilliums.

I don’t think there has ever been a vernal equinox that I didn’t see a trillium somewhere, either here or on Germantown Road when I happened to be in town. These, for me, ARE spring. They’re a clear demonstration of the things that wait quietly until the time is ripe and then sing their presence gloriously into the landscape. It’s the spring version of the “Hallelujah Chorus.”

I love trilliums, and finding two coming up today (where last year there was only one) made my heart glad.

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One Response to “Wahoo! It’s official, spring is on the way”

  1. Marianne's Virtual Salon; Regarding Sir Newt « Down the Rabbit Hole Says:

    […] I can’t get my thoughts clear, or I’m stressing out, a walk down M.’s thoughtful, nature imbued prose will help me regain some inner […]

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