For all the times I say I hate change, the seasons remind me this really isn’t true. With each sign of spring, I look even harder for other signs that color is returning to our lives.
Ice is breaking up, spring bulbs are poking through the formerly hard-frozen ground, and migrating birds have returned to the lake. Even the grass, so brown through winter, is sending up hopeful shoots.
We have walked often recently alongside the lake, watching for signs of change. Shady trails have clung to their packed ice sheets, making walking treacherous. The road alongside the lake here is clear, with solid footing. It has been an easy choice to simply step outside and keep walking down to the water.
My neighbors got in some last ice skating before the lake ice broke up, and we worried. Those chairs out on the ice were soon going to sit at the bottom of the lake. But no, they were paying as close attention (probably closer) than we were, and retrieved the chairs to the safety of shore before the ice was gone.
Ring neck ducks have been our most frequent visitors so far. They keep close to the shelter of the island, so it’s challenging to capture clear pictures of them. They spend their day diving in search of food before they head on to the next stop on their migratory route. Each group that arrives stays only a day or two before moving on. Then another flock sails in looking for needed rest, relaxation, and food.
I look forward to their visits each spring and fall. The rest of the year the lake is patrolled by the mute swans and mallards. These more colorful visitors never stay. We are merely a way station.
With the ice melting, I notice what looks like frozen water milfoil that has floated to the surface. The first day or so after the ice melted, the water near shore looked clear, but now these messy mats of vegetation fill the water’s surface, especially around the cat tails near shore. Water milfoil is one among many aquatic invasives that are affecting the health of our waterways.
It is easy to get caught up in worry and concern for the future of our world, forgetting that we are not in control of all the events around us. I tend towards worry; it’s my nature. I am able to make some choices that can make a difference. And one of those choices is to pay attention. Sharing what I notice is something else I can do. The rest feels a lot bigger than me. And so, understanding there is much I cannot change, I walk…
Marjorie Turner Hollman is a personal historian who loves the outdoors, and is the author of Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd edition, More Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd edition, and editor of Easy Walks and Paddles in the Ten Mile River Watershed. Just out is her latest book, Finding Easy Walks Wherever You Are.
She has been a freelance writer for numerous local, regional, and national publications for the past 20+ years, has helped numerous families to save their stories, and has recorded multiple veterans oral histories, now housed at the Library of Congress.