At Long Last, Spring

cross posted from The Dream Antilles

This morning I went for a long walk with my faithful retriever dog friend.  We live in Columbia County, in eastern New York in the foothills of the Massachusetts Berkshires.  The ground in the fields was wet but not frozen, the grass is still brown, and it was about 35 degrees and overcast.  We were looking for signs that Spring really was coming.

I know that the Solstice is on March 20, 2008 at 1:48 am EDT.  We should be able to find some sign of the impending change of season, if we look for it, right?

Yes! This morning for the first time this year I heard the referee’s whistle song of the red wing blackbird.


A Redwing Blackbird

If you’ve never heard the Redwing Blackbird, try this.  The sound I’m hearing is called the “okalee call.”  It’s about setting out a new territory for the year.

In this corner of the world, the redwing blackbird is the very first sign of Spring.  Before crocuses.  Before paperwhites.  Before anything.  In fact, its basketball referee whistle call usually coincides with the beginning of March Madness.  The selections for the NCAA tournament aren’t until tomorrow.  The birds are a little early this year.

And so, in celebration of the fact there is a sign that at long, long last spring is about to emerge, and as important, that the northeastern winter is on its last legs, I offer you ee cummings:

in Just-

spring       when the world is mud-

luscious the little lame baloonman

whistles       far       and wee

and eddyandbill come

running from marbles and

piracies and it’s


when the world is puddle-wonderful

the queer

old baloonman whistles

far       and       wee

and bettyandisbel come dancing

from hop-scotch and jump-rope and






baloonMan       whistles




Join me in gratitude far and wee for the coming of Springtime.



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  1. Enjoy the weekend.

    And thanks for reading.

    • OPOL on March 15, 2008 at 17:33
    • kj on March 15, 2008 at 17:52

    with such a lovely name. “red-winged blackbird”  the times i was on Cape Cod they made their appearance.  here, it’s the sound of the mourning doves.  hands down, favorite sound in the world.  and to me, one of the heralds of spring.

    thanks, davidseth  

    • RiaD on March 15, 2008 at 18:47


  2. lets hope it really signifies the end of winter, in our spirit as well as natures. Thanks David You’ve always been a breath of spring to me.

  3. Package store, 30 pack, considering last summer I predicted.

    Last Summer before Armageddon, enjoy.  The horses took us for a ride yesterday.

    • brobin on March 15, 2008 at 22:33

    A picture of our Rosemary bush (tree) blooming in purple today.


  4. And many of our bird friends have gone to check it out but no martins. I am worried somebody else will try and move in.

    Loved the red winged black bird. Don’t they tend to congregate near bodies of water or am I confusing them with another one?

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