The Promise Of Spring

by Curt Kovener

The rising late week temperatures made for a glorious time in the wilderness. Though since this is Indiana and it had been five minutes since I wrote this, the weather may have changed by the time you read this.
The sumac trees had pretty much taken over the dam and needed to be removed…by force if necessary (which it always is). Sumac is a rapidly growing junk wood tree. The stalk grows quickly-often from cut off stumps-and within two years is the size of a broomstick but definitely not a strong. Bend them and the tree breaks. The grow prolifically and their only redeeming quality is their brilliant scarlet autumn color. While as an accent tree they can be attractive, a dam full of sumac is not a pretty sight.
So a day of 60-degree temperatures in February and the saw blade on the weed whacker made for a productive afternoon activity. But that evening and next morning my winter dormant muscles let me know they did not appreciate the workout.
A fellow outdoor tree grower (and I guess that is the best place to grow trees) told me that sumac grow in poor quality soil…which pretty much typifies much of the terrain in the wilderness. He suggested I put some lime on the dam to improve the pH and it would make the area less likely to produce breakable broomsticks.
Using my human powered whirlygig fertilizer I applied 120 pounds of very dusty lime to the dam.
Throughout this dam work Charley enjoyed the warm temperatures as well. He would explore the woods for new smells and come back on occasion to check on my progress. Just a few days before, ice still covered the lake but a couple of days of warm temperatures melted the winter cover and brought bluegill to the surface. And Charley couldn’t resist trying to chase them. But even with the still chill water and their slower movement, they eluded him.
The force and recuperative powers of Mother Nature is amazing. Just a few days of warm weather and that which had been snow & ice covered winter dead zone is now producing some early green shoots of spring blooming daffodils and crocus letting me know that the seasonal cycle is still in effect.
While snow and cold temperatures will remain in the forecast for a bit longer, still there is the promise of spring returning.