Is the first woodpecker of the season a thing?

 

What was the first official day of spring?

And since weíve opened the box, what about the first days later this year for summer, fall and winter? When are the official days of seasonal change?

Iím going to let you kick it around for a bit. In part because we have some other ground to cover. In part because if you live where it snows in October and April, or where there are palm trees setting the scene for frosty drinks at a pool bar in mid-January, it really makes no difference what a calendar says. And, mostly, because itís lots of fun to let you make a quick decision and then second guess yourself. (My words for your thoughts: ďDuh, itís the twenty-first of such-and-such for the first day of that-season. What kind of idiot asks that question? Really. Wait. Hold on though. Isnít one of them the twentieth? Maybe two of them? Leap year? Does leap year change things? Crap. No. No. Twenty-first. Crap! Iíll bet itís a trick question.Ē)

We all have certain things that we know to be true. Some of them are specific-day events. Some of them are signs of arrival that can vary from specific calendars into more generic observations.

For instanceÖ it does not always snow on March 25th. But, if you live in the northeast United States, we could come up with plenty of examples where it did snow in April, never mind late March.

OrÖ lots of people love Saint Patrickís Day. Good stuff, sure. For me though, Iím more focused on what happens two days laterÖ March 19thÖ Saint Josephís Day. And, in that case, itís not for the overall Saint Josephís Day. It is absolutely and one-hundred percent for the zeppole.

About a week ago, I was walking along the driveway, heading to the mailbox, and I heard a woodpecker.

There are certain sounds that I notice, even in a notice-but-not-really way. Take geese. I hear them, honking away. But on many days, I know I heard them honking, but it never registered when I heard it. Walked the driveway, grabbed the mail, heard the honking while flipping through some envelopes and catalogues to see if anything good arrived, got to the house and closed the door, then for whatever reason realized that fifteen seconds or so earlier I heard some geese.

Snow on the windshield. LookÖ in January and February, and even November and December and MarchÖ I expect frost and snow on the windshield. Iím actually more surprised on mornings where I donít find one or the other to be dealt with. But, grab the brush or scraper, invest a minute or two, then venture off with chattering teeth waiting for the heat to kick in. I couldnít tell you if I cleared the windshield one time or five in the past few days, but I know I did.

That woodpecker though. Havenít heard any woodpeckers in months. Brought the birdfeeders inside for a bit when we were spotting squirrels and racoons and skunks and rabbits more often than birds, so I havenít seen any woodpeckers in months. And yet, there it was, the unmistakable sounds of a woodpecker.

Kind of got me thinking about spring. Not the date. And not really the season. More the idea that temperatures are about to begin moving higher and the days are going to begin getting longer.

Long-range forecast actually lists a day where the temperature is proudly displayed as 53-degrees, and the breakdown for that same day features the expectations of snow. Letís not put away the shovels and welcome spring just yet. But the signs are there. The signs are beginning to appear. And for some reason, it was a woodpecker that got me thinking about it.

 

If you have any comments or questions, please e-mail me at Bob@inmybackpack.com