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Spring has arrived!

Winter has finally left the building after overstaying its welcome by approximately 847 days. The fever of cold has at last broken.

Over the past few days, piles of snow have been transformed from solid to liquid, with many more to go. 

Geese and songbirds have followed the snowmelt as it marched northward, swarms of avians eager to recolonize what was, until very recently, a sterile and colorless landscape. 
It was snowy for so long in this neck of the woods that many of us popped champagne corks at the first sighting of bare ground. A neighbor sent me a Snapchat photo of the first flower of spring from his yard. 

It was just a dandelion, but at this point, my friends and I will take whatever spring sights we can get.
Our dog, Bella, experienced her first vernal equinox last spring. We were taking our daily constitutional last April when we spied a pair of Canada geese in our east field. 

Bella was curious about the interloping winged aliens, so she and I strolled out to get a closer look.
When we got to within about thirty yards of them, the geese decided that we were close enough, so they spread their enormous wings and whooshed up into the sky. This unexpected development startled Bella. 

She bolted back toward the house wearing an expression that seemed to say, “Holy cow, did you see how big those things are? You’re on your own, buddy!”

But, it’s an entirely different story this spring. Recently while on a daily walk, Bella spotted a gaggle of geese and immediately shot out toward them like a furry black bullet. Again, the honkers quickly took flight, rising into the air like black and grey versions of 747 jetliners.
Bella came trotting back to me, proud of her decisive victory over her erstwhile tormentors. But this time, the look on her face said, “Did you see that, Dad? I really showed them, didn’t I?”
Easter is a peripatetic holiday, wandering back and forth on the calendar, following an obscure ancient formula that involves the position of the sun in the sky and the phases of the moon. It appears that all of our atomic clocks and GPS don’t hold much sway in the grand scheme of things.
A timeworn farmer’s proverb goes, “Early Easter, early spring.” I have never actually checked the accuracy of that old saying. This year’s Easter is on the late-ish side, and spring was definitely late, so maybe there is some truth to it.
My aunt Naomi would insist the best time to get your garden started was to plant the garden’s root crops on Good Friday. This could have been theoretically possible this year, but only if I hired an industrial snowblower to clear out the towering snowbank that occupied our garden. And a jackhammer to carve a furrow in the frozen dirt for the carrot and the radish seeds.

There is no greater pleasures than taking a stroll in the country on a warm spring day. The air is filled with the aroma of warming soil along with the voices of songbirds who are fervently burbling their soothing tunes.
For me, the surest sign of spring is hearing the song of a meadowlark.
I remember back in first grade, when my sister Dianne and I were walking home from our one-room schoolhouse we heard a nearby meadowlark began to warble.
“That’s a weather bird,” Dianne stated authoritatively. “He’s singing, ‘It’s going to be real nice today.’”
It was a very nice day, so I immediately took Dianne’s pronouncement as gospel. I continue to think that’s what the weather bird, um, I mean, the meadowlark is singing to us.   

About the Author

Jerry Nelson

Jerry Nelson and his wife, Julie, live in Volga, South Dakota, on the farm that Jerry’s great-grandfather homesteaded in the 1880s. Daily life on that farm provided fodder for a long-running weekly newspaper column, “Dear County Agent Guy,” which become a book of the same name. Dear County Agent Guy is available at

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