The moments before spring

Each day a IMGP4029moment before spring bursts into view, the earth exhales a few more blossoms, some leafy buds, while birds give song to that little hope, the one that takes root in March looking past April for May, for warm, soft air and open windows and skies that put robin’s eggs to shame.

Flickers clatter against the metal chimney flue and black-capped midgets call chick-a-dee-deeIMGP3941-dee-dee , hopping through petals fallen by a rainstorm. In one tall pine a glorious eagle eyes the lake’s watery world, watching for a flash of scales. Canada geese, itinerant wanderers, graze along, looking perfectly at home across the border.

We visited Mukilteo Lighthouse Park pressing through a watery, grey day, convinced that soon we’ll be tucking away warm jackets but glad we have them today. A few other sturdy folks stroll around the small park, as the ferries come and go with a rhythm that feels like the tide, washing in, washing out, carrying cars, people and their dreams and worries.

IMGP4124We find tulips in well tended gardens and soak in the color, contrasted against the monotone clouds. Hubby takes a photo of a marooned kite leaning on a chimney of the lightkeeper’s residence and I suggest naming the photo Unplanned Layover.

Along the beach, someone has lit a fire pit and we stand in the warmth, a little unwilling to admit we still crave the smoke and cinders as we lean toward them

IMGP4135thinking of another, kinder season.

Finally, we head up to the Red Cup Café where we find friendly if slightly forgetful service, steaming soup, homemade sandwiches with awesome bread, and a rustic, quirky atmosphere that feels like someone’s beach cabin living room. The room is filled with graying heads interspersed with the multicolored locks of youth, everyone involved in timeless conversation. Wide windows frame the bay below, cool and quiet, unwilling yet to release spring among us but unable to stop her cheery advance columns of blooms.

MaroonedKiteIMGP4116IMGP4133

 

 

 

 

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Taking flight

A late winter day waning into early spring has drawn many to enjoy the lake near my friend’s home. The lack of rain swells the numbers of visitors as flotillas of birds float along the placid waters. Skateboarders, cyclists, wanderers, runners with jogging buggies, and a large assortment of dogs flow by me as I watch a flicker assemble himself at the top of a leafless tree and unleash his sentinel call. The hoots, blats, honks and trills of birds curl through the air like madrona bark … the gorgeous tones of a hidden blackbird is especially lush. We are an unlikely crew, humans and animals, visitors and neighbors, joined for a few minutes by a common body of water.

Just passing through on the way to spring.
Just passing through on the way to spring.

I keep stopping to enjoy marching mallards, first the drake then his girl following a few steps behind. They waddle back and forth across the path, taking flight when kids can’t resist racing toward them. A few feet away their larger, less nervous cousins, Canada geese, stroll along adding contrast to the grass they are intent on cropping (and fertilizing) ignoring humans and, amazingly, the many dogs. Maybe the geese have figured out what a leash means. A brown form pokes up and cruises across the water. I am not sure if it’s a nutria or a beaver and wish I had my small binoculars.

This lakeside stop is just ducky!
This lakeside stop is just ducky!

It is nearly dusk and the flotillas are stretching their wings and chattering more. In a moment, they lift as one, all wings and bird noise, off to a destination hidden within their calls. I meander home, taking pictures of early berries and blooms, feeling a little more whole than when I started.

The many become one - a beautiful moment.
The many become one – a beautiful moment.
Stunning winter color along the path home.
Stunning winter color along the path home.