I say spring arrived on May 18

Posted on June 3, 2014


It certainly wasn’t very springlike on May 2, when it snowed.  The snow melted practically as fast as it landed, but that was probably because I threatened it with a welding torch.  It wasn’t very springlike on May 5, when plenty of ice bobbed about in the Bay.  It wasn’t even our ice.  It was the ice from the Straits of Mackinac that had finally broken up and drifted onto Lake Michigan . . . where a north wind caught it and delivered it to Grand Traverse Bay.  However.  You will notice the sunshine.

Clink, clink, clink - icy drink


The last of the ice melted and things really started looking up in the next week when we found trout lilies and Dutchmen’s Breeches in bloom.

Trout Lily - Erythronium americanum

Dutchman's Breeches - Eden Shores

The gulls were in a good mood . . . for gulls.

Gulls on a Rock - Grand Traverse Bay - Mid-May



Finally, on May 18 real spring arrived.

It was deliciously warm. It smelled good. There was more sunshine.

Spring Beauty (Claytonia) opened along our favorite woods path. These tiny flowers grow on delicate stems, but they’re very brave, pushing through the leaf litter even before the last of the snow is gone from the shady places.  Apparently there are several different kinds of Claytonia, but I can’t tell them apart and they seem to intermingle a good deal anyway. I suspect they are developing whole new varieties just for fun.

Spring Beauty again

Trillium grandiflora bloomed in open woodlands and along the roadside – drifts of them all over Antrim County.  You’d never guess that the abundant trillium is a protected wildflower, but if it weren’t we wouldn’t have it anymore, so don’t pick it, OK?

Trillium Grandiflora - Late May


The wetlands north of Elk Rapids were brilliant with marsh marigolds – which my grandmother taught me to call cowslips, and so I do, to this very day.

Cowslips in Monet's Swamp

At dusk I took Miss Sadie and the Cowboy for their third walk of the day.  We heard a couple of robins giving a barred owl a good talking to, and watched the ruckus in the tree across the road.

Barred Owl gets a talking-to from a robin

The owl was offended, and took off for its favorite perch in the woods behind the Writing Studio and Bait Shop, where it spent much of the night hooting at us.  Real springtime, it turns out, is a noisy time.

Barred Owl in flight at dusk