It was warm today but there is still ice and snow on parts of Little Pond in White Memorial Nature Preserve. The seagulls were enjoying the lift of the warm air and there were plenty of other bird sounds, even at midday. And, there were some other "busy" creatures in the area.
That slightly pointed light-colored gnawed on branch you are looking at is beaver work to be sure. There were dozens of them and just beyond...
is the beavers' handy work. The water you see here was just a trickle last year but with a few (thousand) carefully placed branches the beavers have changed the landscape of Little Pond to suit themselves. And along with the new dam there were a few signs of spring.
Just the tiniest bit of green, but it's a start.
And my own personal favorite sign of spring at the Nature Preserve - the skunk cabbage. Do you know that skunk cabbage produces its own heat and can melt the snow around their leaves? They are supposed to have a horrible small but the few that grow around Little Pond seem to be not to expel enough unpleasant odor to drive those us searching for spring away. You can find a bit more about them here and here. Mary Oliver says it well.
Skunk Cabbage by Mary Oliver
And now as the iron rinds over
the ponds start dissolving,
you come, dreaming of ferns and flowers
and new leaves unfolding,
upon the brash
turnip-hearted skunk cabbage
slinging its bunches leaves up
through the chilling mud.
You kneel beside it. The smell
is lurid and flows out in the most
unabashed way, attracting
into itself a continual spattering
of protein. Appalling its rough
green caves, and the thought
of the thick root nested below, stubborn
and powerful as instinct!
But these are the woods you love,
where the secret name
of every death is life again - a miracle
wrought surely not of mere turning
but of dense and scalding reenactment. Not
tenderness, not longing, but daring and brawn
pull down the frozen waterfall, the past.
Ferns, leaves, flowers, the last subtle
refinements, elegant and easeful, wait
to rise and flourish.
What blazes the trail is not necessarily pretty.