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Signs of Spring

Well, the geese have been honking their way northward, and the ones who live here year-round (and there are actually quite a few of those) have been getting more active and bold.  On Sunday, Joel and I went riding, and part of our route took us through Berkley Riverfront Park, where the path was laden with gigantic Canadian geese toasting themselves on the sun-warmed sidewalk.    As we’d approach, they’d begin a grumbling squawk, and when we got as near as they were comfortable with, they’d launch up into the air, honking and squonking. 

I knew I heard a robin the other morning, but I didn’t spot any in the yard, but yesterday, I saw some poking around in an open and recently graded lot on my way to work.  We have these horrible big beetle larvae that nestle just below the level of the grass (and develop into marble-sized coppery-brown beetles) which is what the birds were probably harvesting.  These beetle larvae are pretty sizeable, so they’re likely good eatin’ for a bird.  They’re fascinatingly gross – the heads of the larvae look basically the same as the heads of the adult bugs, but the body is this curved, white thing with only tiny wing buds and pulled-in-tight legs.  I’ve dug up countless of these larvae in the course of gardening, and they never, ever seem to move.  Becasue they’re so inert, you can pick them up and examine them to your heart’s content.  If you think bugs are cool, at any rate.

The other harbinger of spring that I recently observed I saw yesterday, too.  A mother was marching smartly along the sidewalk with her son (probably around 8 or 9) in tow.  The kid looked none too enthused to be walking down to the bus stop, and he had his coat unzipped, and hung as far off the back of his shoulders and arms as possible.  Technically he was still wearing his coat, per parental command most likely, but in practical terms he was coatless.   I have every reason to believe that when he got to school and had recess, he ditched his coat in a corner of the playground along with the coats of a handful of other overly optimistic schoolchildren who have decided that Spring is NOW.

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