The ice on the Byway’s water bodies is starting to yield to the warm spring sun. It is said that one of the reasons that the Erie Canal was constructed on the north side of the Mohawk River was because the spring sun warmed the waters on the north side of the valley first. Even though it has been a cold, snowy winter and our vegetation is at least two weeks behind the usual, there are larger areas of open water becoming apparent.
As these open areas of water grow the spring bird migration starts. Today’s beautiful azure skis provided a unique backdrop for a flight of snow geese high over the Byway corridor. I have only seen such a sight once in my life as I happened to be traveling down the Lake Champlain Valley one fall day about 15 years ago. I saw a flock of snow geese lit by the setting sun against a grey sky. That flock, as impressive as it was, was southbound and warned of the coming Arctic Air. I was also viewing the flock from a moving vehicle which muffled any sound they made.
Today I was on foot and heard the flock before I saw their majestic flight. I got the whole show with the warming sun over my shoulder. I know a picture is worth a thousand words, but no picture could capture this experience.
As the remaining accumulated snow drifts continue to melt and the surface ice continues its retreat I will be looking for the red maple buds to open, skunk cabbage to emerge, and the promising yellow coltsfoot. Get out there and see what is emerging today even if it’s just the moss in the sidewalk joints. Don’t forget your boots as you step off the sidewalk. Trails are muddy as they melt the frost beneath.
Spring is coming to renew us all.