Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Waiting For The Woodcock

    Snow lingers in the woods. Pockets of white hide in the shadows of trees and rock-like ice fills the hollows. Beneath blankets of white, north facing slopes still sleep where the air remains icebox cold.
    But the slopes facing the sun are welcoming her warmth. Swollen streams rush down the hills, creating a rumble that seems to be everywhere. Songbirds chirp and flit about, shyly hiding in the softwoods, busy with courting and spring tasks.
    The bare fields have been invaded by cackling geese, cackling about whatever geese cackle about. Soon after dawn, high in the sky, a pair honked their way up the valley, causing even the dogs to stop and listen. Blue skies and warm breezes make promises we hope are true.
    A walk down along the stream finds the ground cement hard in the shadows of the softwoods. Even amongst the sunlit alders it is the same. Undaunted, the dogs make the effort, searching the ground thoroughly. No woodcock or grouse in a covert that often has both.
    Circling back, up the bank where the sun warms the earth, the bare ground is soft. Eager noses search for the scent of returning woodcock. Optimism grows with the heat of the sun, but too soon the cabin comes into view.
    We’ll have to try again tomorrow.