Wildlife around the cabin seems to be picking up, if still very slightly. Last evening I saw several deer stepping carefully through the snow, avoiding the deepest spots. This morning a rabbit bounced in front of Dog and me on our morning walk.
It’s just a little change, but a welcome one from the blanket of calm white that covers the forest and the fields. They were among the first signs that winter’s long slumber is soon ending or at least easing. The days of deep sleep are over, though it is too early to get up and get going.
The deer are out of their winter holdings, no longer confined to one small space. The rabbits can move more or less freely again. The bluebirds are singing again. The cardinals have sung all winter—nothing seems to slow them down too much. Their songs are more sustained, though, perhaps even more urgent.
It is still too soon for thousands of snow geese to head north, but that grows closer too. Perhaps this weekend, certainly by the next, the ice will be open enough for them to race north as far as open water permits. They will cover the fields and the lakes and skies for a day or a few days.
When that happens, whatever the date, spring will have arrived.