This blog originates on the banks of the Atchafalaya River, in Louisiana. It proposes to share the things that happen on and by the river as the seasons progress. As the river changes from quiet, warm, slow flow to rises of eighteen feet or more, there are changes in the lives of the birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles that use the river. And the mood of the river changes with the seasons. I propose to note and comment on these things.

My Photo
Location: Butte La Rose, Louisiana, United States

I transitioned a few years ago from a career as a water-pollution control biologist. I want to do this blog to stay in touch with a world outside my everyday surroundings, whatever they may be. I like open-minded company and the discussion of ideas. Photo by Brad Moon.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Ending Winter

Something ends winter. Something that has nothing to do with temperature ends winter. The water in the river is still cold, so cold it makes your ankles ache if you stay in it too long. And there are still nights to be that will burn tomato plants forced to brave the frontiers of a Spring still a little too far away. But no, it isn’t that. What it is, is the trees, and the goldfinches. Together they end winter. Look outside now; there are buds on all the trees but the pecans. Green buds, pink buds and flowers on the redbuds, and azaleas of all hues are ending winter as we write or read these lines. As you look out of the back door, you see brown tones and you can still see the river through the forest. In a little while you will look harder to see the river and green will be everywhere. And the goldfinches have vacated the snack bar we provided in January and February. They have the task of ending winter all the way north as they pass to places suitable for nesting. Weeks ago we counted them in the hundreds, stoking their fires on black oil sunflower seeds. But all of a sudden they are gone, or nearly so. The budding trees are providing fare not available in winter and less monotonous than sunflower seeds for breakfast, lunch and dinner. So the goldfinches have ended winter for us, and the budding trees promise a green border on the river. There is nothing static about the swamp. Winter is over.

Rise and Shine, Jim


Blogger Bryant said...

I think you're right Jim. It sure looks like winter is over in Lake Charles. I remember my grandfather talking about the pecan trees. He told me they didn't get fooled very often. He said that usually when their leaves came out there would be no more frost that year. Enjoyed your writing.

February 29, 2008 9:29 AM  
Blogger jim said...

Watch the pecans, they always told us. And usually they were right, too. Thanks for the comment, Bryant. Jim

February 29, 2008 10:48 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Winter is done when I first see the red buds of the swamp maple first start to bulge on the trees; more cold to come but it's done. I can think then of only two depressing things; lawn mower and weed eater. Bream, crawfish, tomatoes, catfish, crabs, etc., will come to mind, but it takes a while for me to let go of winter. Most don't, but I do love it

March 10, 2008 1:03 AM  
Blogger jim said...

I like to think winter and spring are the same Doug, just different. Fat bream, red tomatoes and boiled crabs. Thinking of them is like the "rabbit" in a dog race, it's enough to keep you going. Thanks for the comment and the observations. Jim

March 10, 2008 7:52 PM  

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