Second Spring

On my better days, I’d like to call myself a writer and a naturalist, but when you boil it down what I really am is an anxious observer. Lately, we have been having extremely warm days–this is already the middle of November. I’m talking 80 degree days here. Short-sleeved walks. Feeling too hot in the sun. Of course we’ve always had second summer, or as they used to call it, Indian summer. But that was defined as a short warm spell after the first frost. Fair enough–we have had the first frost already, but in my micro climate only one or two, and not a super hard frost at that.

With these warm days, there has come a resurgence of bugs. I pulled a tick off my side the other day. Mosquitoes buzz around. Gnats float in clouds. Okay… There has always been the anomaly of a flower blooming–the errant forsythia or lilac bursting open. But the other day I found a whole patch of low bush blueberry bushes in full bloom. As a friend noted–fruit bearing flowers, that’s just wrong!! And the other day I began to notice new leaves. A whole patch of striped maple saplings with brand new delicate leaves. And a witch hazel fully leafed out, with dead leaves still attached. New hay-scented ferns pushing up out of the leaf litter. And even spring peepers peeping. Not one, but many.

Now, surely, these things are tiny–the ferns will still grow next year, the peepers will come out, and the striped maples will leaf anew. But, to this casual observer, it’s apparent that the climate is irreparably changed. Due to humans not wanting change, we have changed absolutely everything.


Right after I wrote the first draft of this post, I got this post from Mary Holland in my email.

On observers: “Inuit are meticulous observers of their environment, and they always have been. …So when the natural world begins to change, they really see it.”