Thursday, March 12, 2015

Spring, Swings and Song

My pantless wish is slowly but surely coming true. Temperatures are in the 40s and the snow is melting. There are huge swaths of snow-squashed grass emerging in the yard, and the roads and sidewalks are clear enough for actual traversing without 4-wheel drive.

I've spent the last several minutes listening to one of the surest signs of spring: birdsong. I am no ornithologist. I can distinguish a handful of birds -- cardinals, robins, blue jays, crows, eagles, hawks, doves -- with confidence, and I will get lucky at correctly guessing a finch or sparrow. And of course I know pigeons, seagulls, geese and ducks. But that's mostly by sight and rarely by sound.

This one bird that has been calling nearby sounds exactly like another great sound of spring: swinging. You know, that rhythmic squeaking of a metal chain link on a metal hook that has hung mostly unused and frozen in ice all winter. Swings squeak any season, but there is something ringing and extra clear about it in spring, when a kid can finally get to it in the park again. Summer swings sound different, I swear.

So if you know what that bird is, that one that sounds like a creaking swing set in spring, let me know.

Max and I will be doing some actual swinging any day now. We went for our first spring walk up and down our street today, jumping in puddles and stomping the random dry leaf that had clung to a tree all winter but finally made a dive to make way for new growth.

We have been driving past the village park all winter, but there was something about it today that finally made him ask to go to it. Maybe it was because he can finally see the ground again and he remembers how fun it is to run around there.

Or maybe that calling bird reminded him of the swings.

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