As I write this, in the last full week of March, I am looking out at a white landscape of newly fallen snow. Despite knowing better, and generally enjoying snow, I feel a little betrayed. I was just out in the woods hauling sap to make maple syrup for Audubon’s Sugar on Snow party not that long ago--before this snowstorm, and before the world started wobbling. While carrying sloshing buckets of maple sap along a meadow at the Green Mountain Audubon Center on that glorious sunny day, I heard my first Red-winged Blackbird of the season. Spring had arrived, muddy, warm, and fresh.
Now, given the snow, and the daily grind of news updates about the novel coronavirus Covid-19, I am having trouble remembering what spring feels like, or why it seemed so urgent to collect the sap before the buckets overflowed. Still, the birds are telling me that spring is coming. Despite the snow. Despite the fact that I am struggling, like most of us, to comprehend what a pandemic means for my family, and my community. I know spring is coming and this late snow will melt. The hawks, thrushes, wrens and warblers that spent their winter enjoying warmer weather will return, bringing their beauty, their elegance, and their joyous songs.
I am grateful to these returning birds, and also to the chickadees and others that stuck out the winter with us. Though I cannot respond in kind, with songs or plumage, I hope that the work we do to protect the places birds need for food and for shelter is appreciation enough. I am also grateful to live in Vermont, in this community of people who look after each other, and who always find a way to rise above whatever challenge the world throws at us. I have enjoyed watching the Audubon Vermont team find ways to show our gratitude, as we seek to remain connected in a time of separation, to you, to the Audubon community and beyond, and to our natural world.
Enjoy these mini nature lessons to share with kids and our maple surgaring season video series, and share with anyone you think may benefit from a reminder that spring is coming, and that we will find a way through this crisis together. Please let us know if you have suggestions for other ways we can help.
Wishing you and your family good health and well-being,