Because today was our day off from working at Old World Wisconsin, Steve & I decided to take a walk at Vernon State Wildlife Refuge. This marshy wetland is a favorite place to visit in all the seasons to see the changes in flora and fauna. I think the last time I posted pictures, it was November. Today, it was sunny, 78 degrees and very breezy. The Canada geese had goslings following them everywhere. The Sandhill cranes were nesting. We saw a group of 3 flying in formation. Why three? No idea. We saw lots of red-winged blackbirds pairing up, swallows, American gold finches, a snowy egret and two new ones to me that I had to look up: the yellow-headed blackbird and the rose-breasted grosbeak.
Sitting on the bank of the river looking at the puffy cumulus clouds streaming sunlight through their crisp edges brought me to tears. It seems to me that the world is an absolute miracle, every day, every moment, but usually, the miracle that strikes us is that we finally slowed down long enough to see it. I wonder about how to arrange my life to put more of this experience in. Perhaps the trick is simply to arrange it so that I’m not shutting most of it out.
We visited two different marshland wildlife refuges this week. The turtles are coming out of their winter sleep! I found one sunning itself on a country highway and gave it a lift to the other side of the road. Painted turtles can live to be quite old if they don’t get squashed by a car or eaten by a raccoon.
The snapping turtles at the Wehr Nature Center have a favorite log for sunning. They stay off the roads.
This wood turtle is a pet at the nature center. I like his smile!
Sandhill cranes, Canada geese, wood ducks, and red-winged blackbirds are pairing off and getting ready to start having babies. The red-winged blackbird is one of Steve’s favorites for its distinctive song. The first time he described it to me, he said it sounds like water. Some people say it sings, “Purple TEA” or something like that. Once you recognize it, though, you won’t need to describe it. It is simply the red-winged blackbird’s song. I love how they stall in flight and land grabbing one slender stalk, which sways dramatically, but never breaks.
Chipmunks are awake from their winter sleep, too, but they’re too quick for me to photograph. I did find a fuzzy spring friend who moves at about my speed: pussywillows.
And now, it’s my pleasure to introduce a guest photographer to my blog. Steve took this picture just before we climbed back into the car to go in search of dinner.
Enjoy the beauty surrounding you in this wonderful world. Enjoy waking up to it each moment, becoming aware.