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A classic Last Windrow: Spring at last

This “classic” Last Windrow column was written back in 1990 after a relatively normal winter. Nothing like the stubborn season we have just experienced. But, I thought the column just felt good reading it over again and thus I’m sharing it with my readers. 

Spring at last

The loons are back on Norway Lake. I saw them swimming on the brook just this morning. They looked happy to be back. Dipping their long, dark bills into the ripples that formed in front of their black and white polka-dotted bodies. Singing a song of betrothal to their mates.

Spring is finally here. The loons know it and so do the white swans that have been frequenting the area. They passed over our house the other day, framed against a dark blue, cloudless sky and flying effortlessly toward the lake. Only the sound of their wing beats made me look up. I could see their dark eyes blinking. They know it’s finally spring. 

The walleyes are running up the rivers and streams, along with the suckers, whitefish and red horse. These finny creatures have felt the tug of renewal and are returning to their historic nesting spots. Some will lay eggs, others will eat eggs. It is as it always has been. Something comforting in that.

Deer are venturing closer to the roadsides. Better be careful or one will decorate your hood! The does are heavy with fawn and should have a good chance to reproduce after a mostly mild and snowless winter. The deer’s gray winter coats are beginning to be replaced by the red coat of summer. New grass must taste good after a winter of chewing on brush and bark.

The white snowshoe rabbit that attacked our young spruce trees has changed to brown. It looks a little gaunt and I hope he or she finds something other than our tulips to whittle on. The large owl that frequented our woods last winter must have missed this furry meal.

Eagles have again taken up residence near Crosslake. They’ll no doubt have their pictures taken several hundred times again this summer. When I first moved to northern Minnesota 20 years ago, you didn’t see an eagle anywhere. Something must have changed in that time. I like it better with eagles in the picture.

Driving by the ranch-land west of town, I notice lots of new little calves running around behind their mothers. Kicking up their heels and butting their mother’s side and then standing there looking innocent seems to be the thing to do on a warm spring day. Looks like spring brought a good crop of calves this year.

The talk in the coffee shop has run full cycle, from football to basketball to baseball. Again, there is no agreement as to how the Twins will do this season. The snowbirds have returned from the south to liven the conversation at the table. We, who live here year-around, need some new stimulation and our snowbirds provide it.

Yes, we’ve come through one beautiful season and now we’re fast forwarding into the next. Keeps one on his toes, these changing of seasons. Lots of things to do and such a short time to do them. Could it be that we are enjoying ourselves? Could it be that spring is really here? 

I think so.

See you next time. Okay?