But even clouds and icy wind can't change the fact that it's spring. Trees are leafy, birds are sing-y, and the marshy lake-around-the-corner is getting greener by the hour. I head out, camera in hand, to see what changes spring has wrought.
Here are two of those singing birds (species unknown):
The marsh in spring.
Up the road, the verge is carpeted with violets.
Berry bushes at the start of the trail. I'll have to come back later in the summer to see what kind of berries they are - though I'm guessing blackcaps.
I pass the abandoned outbuilding, nearly obscured by leaves...
...and soon I reach the Favourite Tree. It's looking properly spring-like and festive, decked with pale green.
I turn left, and ahead lies a fine crop of dandelions. (I wish I had seen them when they were in bloom.) For some reason this picture reminds me of the snow-covered poppy field in "The Wizard of Oz".
Into the little thicket, with new life all around.
Young leaves like lace against the grey sky.
On the other side of the thicket, the prairie restoration project has turned an intense emerald. Gone are the buff-coloured tussocks of dead grass (where did they go?), and in their place is a soft young carpet of green.
A neighbouring alfalfa field ups the green ante, with the rich brown of a freshly-plowed field behind for contrast.
Into the woods...
...which have a violet-sprinkled carpet of their own.
This rather scaley tree's cut-off branch looks just like a teapot spout.
And here are the Three Stooges of the wood: Larry, Moe and Shaggy. (Larry is the laughing one.) Although my tree knowledge is limited, I knew at once these were shagbark hickory. They couldn't be anything else, looking like that.
Young oak leaves.
Back in the fields, I see quite a few of these unidentified flowers:
They're very tall (about 15"), and the gusting wind will not allow me to get a clear picture of the entire plant. This is the best I could do:
At the other side of the field, another favourite tree. I like the way the path sweeps around it.
Look at the red-rimmed leaves on this white honeysuckle:
At the pond behind the high school, a very large tree has recently split and toppled - I think it must have been diseased.
The top branches lie on the ground, still healthy-looking and covered with leaves and berries. I don't know if the tree can survive like this.
I was planning to head straight home from here, but the broken tree is too sad a subject to end on. So I go around the corner of the pond for a look at these young birches, which are planted in several clumps of three trees each.
They've got the peeliest bark I've ever seen...
...and the prettiest.
Back at the marsh, there are dozens of blackbirds singing me home. Here are three of them:
Shortly after I reach the house, rain begins to fall - brrr. But May is just around the corner!
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