Like the pains of puberty, spring forms through unexpected fits of growth, regression and awkward spurts of loud weather. The animals must hedge bets on what is coming and how long it will stay.
Warm weather such as the last few days will bring out skunks, oppossoms and even a few rabbits. The skunks and oppossums have been semi- hibernating. The warmth signals their bodies to start bringing their systems online- slowly. It was a long cold winter. Unfortunately, in the early stages, many of these guys experience the rough equivilant of sleepwalking- and sleepwalk onto the busy roads.
As the consistant heavy spring rains fall and the temperature is above 35 degrees, the earth below begins to wake. Wood frogs spent the winter dead to the world as solid blocks of ice, surviving only because of an sugar enzyme produced by the liver insulated the cells. The frogs slowly thaw and come out to breed. This is if everything works as it should. Last year, that spring trigger first occured in late January. Many wood frogs emerged, bred in the pools and hedged their bets. Unfortunately, it was a freak winter thaw followed by a deep February freeze. As the pools froze solid, nearly all of the egg masses froze solid and died (embryos and tadpoles don't have the sugar enzyme). Many adult frogs also perished due to the fast onset of the deep freeze. Preparing to become a frogcicle for the winter takes a lot of work. Besides being caught off guard by February, there just wasn't enough energy to go around after breeding. From this, there was a greatly reduced observations that spring of egg masses, tadpoles and even adult frogs. So goes nature.
Still, look to the sky and you'll see the redtails have paired and are nesting. The skunk cabbage has burned through the snow. The owls have pupped. The redwing blackbirds are returning to re-enact the annual deadbeat-dad act in the marshes, as they have done for thousands of years. The crows call their final calls to flock over the twilight skies as the mornings bring more song of robin and jay.
Persephone sees the light.
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