Sure Signs of Full Spring

June bugs and misguided moths concuss themselves against the windows incessantly at night. Each sudden, hollow flwap! against the window sounds like a crisp, solitary raindrop whose path has been crippled by the unexpected presence of a cabin in the middle of nowhere. And tonight on my walk during the in-between time I saw the sky give way to the blandness of Crayola grey for just an instant before the stars began to take over. Venus is hovering in the lower left portion of the horizon like a faithful puppy to mother moon. A few dogs bark uselessly in the distance, their sounds at least slightly muffled now in the abundance of the dense spring forest.

All of this is to say I love the sights and sounds of my home. I waltzed with a bluet moth on my walk today, it’s iridescent wings flitting about my legs and doing loop-d-loops between my steps. Buttercups and wide daisies are in full bloom, while the flaming azalea are finally smoldering out. Everywhere, the mountain laurel are on the cusp of blossom, their pink nipple-tips just ready to open into exceptional bowl-like whitish flowers. I have even spied a few confused rhododenron blooms, though their peak is not supposed to be until July at this elevation.

But perhaps stronger than any plant related sign of spring, perhaps even more pressing than the pattering of insects that are enamored with my desk light, is the eight-inch spread of a black bear paw print smeared across the house site on which my family is currently preparing to settle. The bear visited last night, it’s tracks leaving no trace of how it entered the clearing for the property but a distinct trail marking how it left after sniffing around through billows of white pine sawdust and no doubt, the smell of working men who had been up at the structure just hours before.

My first thought is that I need to spend the night at the house site (which is hardly finished, though it looks more and more livable as each week passes). I haven’t seen a bear in two years and it’s about time. There is a certain thrill in it, and with black bears it’s much safer since they are so typically shy and easily startled. A plan is in the works but time will tell if I actually act on it.

Meantime, a bear has been spotted on the other side of the river on the property of the boarding school I used to teach at. It was caught red-handed pawing at a bird feeder in the dead of night, then gorging on a small mountain of oily seeds that fell to the ground when the feeder cracked. The next night it went for the compost in the backyard of the house my parents currently live in with five teenagers who they teach. Talk about experiential learning and sure signs of spring.


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