Backyard Naturalist

May 22, 2013

A timeline to spring

Spring flowers make winter seem to not exist at all

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

Now we see the violets inherent in the system.

Photo by Dana Wilde

May 8: “Shadbush blossoms.”

May 10: “Rhododendrons deep purple by front doors (fire in the sky). Apple blossoms.”

May 13: “Green growing grass, gorgeous.”

May 14: “The phoebe mate has arrived; they’re darting around snatching bugs off blades of grass. Quince bushes, rose-colored, in a couple of yards on Route 9. … A tiny little 1 mm spider ran up his thread and into my sleeve.”

May 15: “A wood thrush hopping around under the greening willows, phoebes in the birch. Their nest up under the lip of the garage. A big fat robin under the ash trees.”

May 16: “Nature’s cruelest joke: Finally the world is warm but legions of black flies have hatched up out of the brook and taken over the driveway. My Belfast friends say they were infested early last week.”

May 17: “Starflower and Canada mayflower plants on the edge of the woods. Red osier dogwood showing flat-topped buds. ‘A spring-source rises under everything.’”

May 20: “A blue jay shoots past the bathroom window. When lilacs soon in the dooryard bloom:” Full-on spring!

Oh, winter, where is thy sting?

In February, summer seems like just a legend. In May when the lilacs open out it’s clear the legend is coming to life, and for a few months, winter is the ancient myth. So is it written.

Dana Wilde lives in Troy. His writings on the Maine woods are collected in “The Other End of the Driveway,” available from Backyard Naturalist appears the second and fourth Thursdays of the month. You can contact him at


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