Please forgive the geo-centricity. I realize full well that the summer is coming to an end in the Southern Hemisphere and that in the Southern US Spring has already unfolded. But here, in this wooded corner where New York runs out and Massachusetts begins, the mild winter seems at long last to have run its course. There are no more storms predicted in the immediate future. And hope abounds that the end of winter may actually have arrived.
A few days ago the first redwing blackbird stood in the top of a tall tree and blew its referee's whistle. Over and over again. This tree, the surrounding area, all within his sight, his. Claiming it for himself. Even from others who had not yet arrived but who would surely follow him. Declaring his turf.
Every year the redwing blackbirds return in March just before the NCAA basketball tournament begins. Their return is the true March Madness. It signals that the end of winter is coming, even as the early green of the snow whites and crocuses rise in the dirt and the first blooms sway in the wind at the roadside.