The air has that watery spring smell to it. Pussy willows are fluffing out all along the creek. But mainly I know spring is here because the blue-jays - always sassy for corn - are doing their spring song-and-dance when I fill the bird feeders. They do what looks like deep knee-bends and then they stretch up tall (I know there is a French ballet phrase for it) and call their musical spring "ker-glibbit", half low, half high. It always sounds like a rusty water pump handle, just as the water begins to gush up.

The full moon has been pulling the juncos north, and pulling upwards on the crocus and daffodil bulbs, too.

Stretching and tugging are going on everywhere; the lake and river ice are ripping apart. Slightly the worse for wear winter jackets are being flung off. Cats are wanting to stay outside all day.

It won't be long now.

And suddenly water is everywhere, pouring, pooling, puddling, eddying. Backed up in pools 100 feet wide at the creek beds. Looking like butterscotch pudding as it swirls around tree trunks near the creeks.

But myriad fragile feathers of ice grow across the puddles every night and shatter with the first foot fall in the morning. Clear, thick rectangles of 1/2 inch thickness break off main sheets down along the creek, wander in the slush and are re-frozen into the gritty brown road ice, moored in collage like pieces of stained glass. At a point where hill water plunges toward the bridge, lovely thick bubble ice grows at night, smooth and creamy white like campfire-melted marshmallows.

This much water is even an affront to the road graders and great road "Cats."

It's all a nuisance really.

On the other hand, my brother and his wife in California are choosing very, very carefully what drought-resistant plants they might yet dig in, as the California hills turn browner and dustier, and water rationing begins.

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© 2004 by Pamela Thompson, Giving Ground - all rights reserved

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