Sleepy first song of a frog in the marsh
Blackbird concert in an oak tree top
Chickadees calling "Spring's here ... spring's here"
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Sunday afternoon was sunny and a tad warmer - warmer being a comparative term meaning "not as icy as previously but still pretty chilly on a bike" (mid 40s). I celebrated this burst of tropicality by flinging caution to the winds and leaving the wool undershirt at home.
Tallulah and I set out just after 3 pm. The sky is of that particular blue specific to spring - a pale aquamarine that brings to mind an Italian Renaissance painting - dotted with baby clouds and streaked with ribbony contrails.
As we pass the marsh outside of town, a lone frog is sleepily croaking - the first frog song I've heard this year.
Fields and roadsides are still mostly brown (though bits of grass have begun to appear in sheltered areas). Such a change from last year's unusually early spring.
Farm equipment is waking up from hibernation and beginning to lumber about the countryside:
We come to a stream swollen with snowmelt, and I decide to stop for a photo of Tallulah on the bridge piling. As I climb off the bike I am amazed to see a turtle being carried down the stream just below me. Under the water, it's floating sideways - almost backwards - and waving its flippers in a helpless sort of way. By the time I get my camera out, the turtle is long gone.
Here's Tallulah, gazing downstream in a vain effort to see it:
We solace our disappointment with a photo of this vivid red-twig dogwood...
...then climb back on the bike and head out to look for more photo-worthy views. Like this wreath of wire draped casually around a fencepost:
And these birches holding grateful arms up to the sun:
A few miles past the birches, a friendly collie dog runs onto the road and bumps my leg, as if trying to herd me back to the fold. (Silly dog, he nearly got his paws run over.) Then, a half mile later, I pass a family walking in a field with another dog. The dog decides to chase me, and despite my best efforts - and the frantic shouts of the family - it catches up to me and races alongside the bike. To my everlasting shame I see that I have been run down by a Bassett hound. (My only excuse is that I was going uphill at the time.)
A tractor and an appealing line of bare-branched trees:
These two bovines...
...are eating placidly from a large wagon very near the road, until I stop to take their photo, whereupon they run to the middle of the field and stare balefully until I leave.
Golden willow fronds, blue sky, and red-twig dogwood in lovely juxtaposition:
Tallulah adding a spot of lavender to the landscape:
Everywhere we ride, we hear birds. Cardinals, black-capped chickadees, red-winged blackbirds, and many others I can't identify, are shouting with glee at the return of spring.
This lonely oak is full of blackbirds and song...
...as are the trees across the road. Wouldn't you like to hear it?
Back on the road for a shadow shot:
(The sun feels wonderful on my back.)
Miles and more miles, up hills and down, with one last stop for photos at a little one-room schoolhouse out in the country. Tallulah poses on the schoolyard pump:
And I take a shot of the old schoolbell.
Then it's back in the saddle and heading for home. I'm starving - not being used to riding so far this early in the season. (Time to hunt up my energy bar recipe and start bringing some along.)
Sunday was the only sunny day this week. Today (Tuesday) we had thunderstorms, with rain, sleet and snow in the immediate forecast. Ugh. But winter is on its last legs.
A beautiful day, and a very good ride.
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