’Tis the season of change. None more than the change from winter to spring is more anticipated; weary of old snow and brown stalks, I look forward to the start of sugaring season to brighten my days. The taps went into the sugar maples three weeks ago, on a day when the tufted titmice and the black capped chickadees were proclaiming spring. The animals and plants know. If you listen and watch, each day brings another sign that spring is creeping in. The daylight hours are lengthening, the ground is softening, mud is slickening the trails at Teatown, and the red maples are showing the first hints of color.
Phenology, nature’s clock, is the cyclical changes in natural phenomena that occur each year, from bud burst to leaf out, or annual sightings of the first butterfly, or migrating warbler.
In sugaring lore, the season begins when the male red-winged blackbirds return to the swamps, ready to set-up territories and attract mates. And the season comes to an end when the spring peepers begin their nightly chorus of trills and peeps. I heard my first red-wing two weeks ago, and yesterday the sound of peepers chorusing down at the lake drifted up to the sugar house while sap was boiling in the evaporator. Perhaps the return to colder temperatures and a bit of snow in the forecast will keep the sap flowing for a few more days, at least!
Get outside during this season of change, and tune into nature’s clock. Don’t miss spring unfolding across the hills and in the fields. Taking care to look closely, you’ll be rewarded by all things bright and beautiful!
About the Author
Phyllis Bock recently retired as Director of Education at Teatown. Her Teatown career spanned more than 30 years.