Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Outlines of Spring

The approach of Spring is a miraculous time, as the earth wakes from its brown-and-grey slumber and begins to dress itself for the year. An early thaw and a few sunny days are all it takes to effect a total transformation - from white and snowy, through wet and muddy, to suddenly, shyly green.

Of course "Spring" is a flexible term here in Wisconsin. It can mean this (photo taken two days ago, on my Sunday walk):


OR this:


(The snowy photo is from two weeks ago, but by all accounts we're in for more of it this week.)

In spring, the colours seem to wake with the earth; the buffs and browns of dead grasses look richer and more golden; red-twig dogwood glows more brightly than ever; and water, released from its icy prison, shimmers newly blue under the pale aquamarine sky.


Tree branches that have been stark and bare for months take on exciting new outlines that hint at the glories to come. Some look beaded:


Some are frothy with new twiggy growth:


 And some burst into fern-like silhouettes:


Even those trees that haven't yet burst into bloom are in an interesting condition, sporting suggestive bumps at the tips of their branches:


Spring has its own clouds, too (or so I like to think) - slender, almost flat-looking; horizontal rather than vertical, their undersides tinted a delicate grey, like the ones floating over this thicket:


(How did the moon sneak into that photo? I never noticed it at the time.)

A less-delicate outline of spring appears on the trail in front of me - the shadow of a crocheter who's spent too much time on her bum lately, and not enough time outdoors:


Let's look at more branches instead. :) Here, another tree reaches to the sky, with long slim fingers bedecked like those of a very old (or very young) woman wearing stacks of jewelled rings:


Look at the perfect symmetry of the buds as they tiptoe up the branches:


A cold west wind is blowing the flat clouds over the eastern horizon, and the moon now floats serenely over the withered grasses of the prairie restoration project:


The sky is full of contrails streaking from east to west and back again, proving that the migratory urge is strong in humans as well as in birds:



Closer to earth, I see bright lichen on tree trunks (and think of Jacquie's recent post, which has similar photos):


One last shot of the moon, this time starring in a photo of her own:


For some, the landscape may seem monotonous just now. But Nature the artist is hard at work on her sketch; she's finished the outlines, and is daily adding more detail. Soon she'll take brush and palette in hand; then all those bumps and beads and feathery bits will be touched with colour as she continues to paint the portrait of the year.

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What colour is your Spring right now?

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