This past month, my blogroll has been filled with stories of harvesting wild nettles, of crocus and daffodils and trilliums blooming, of green things growing in garden beds, of the reopening of farmers' markets. Here in the Yukon, spring arrives at a much slower pace.
The season has really begun to unfurl now, though...
Earlier each morning, the sun crests the horizon, and the birdsong swells in the tree tops.
Added to the familiar chatter of the whiskey jacks is the monotonous song of the dark-eyed junco. The boreal chickadees call to one another with their nasal tsk-a-day-day. From the top of a spruce tree, the robin warms up and then bursts into his beautiful, warbling melody.
For a moment, the other birds hold silent as the robin takes center stage.
The sun shines brilliant over the trees now, and the day has begun.
All over the territory, the snow that has laid a hush over the ground since November melts.
Temporary stream beds swell with the run off for an afternoon, and then lie empty once their source is spent. The roadside ditches are full, making an unlikely stopping place for returning waterfowl, and water rushes through culverts. The creeks are mostly all open now, running fast and high; by contrast, the ponds lie still under a diminishing crust of ice.
Most spectacular are the rivers.
For weeks now the river ice has been rotting, and over the last two weeks, it's begun to break. Small leads of dark water flow up onto the ice, creeping forward and widening with each day. Soon there are large swaths of open water, disappearing beneath what remains of the frozen surface. Creeks and streams rushing to their source create pressure against the stubborn ice, until it can't hold any longer.
The river bursts free.
The ice breaks into huge, thick pans that crash into one anther, and heave up onto the banks, crushing last year's growth of scraggly willow. Inevitably, the ice jams. The river swells behind these jams, low-lying shores flood, until eventually, the ice gives up and the river pushes through again.
One river meets another, dark, icy cold water pushing its way north, bringing spring to the myriad animals and small pockets of people waiting, watching...