Out of the shadows

Groundhog Day arrived last week, cold but sunny enough, according to legend, to scare the timid rodent back into hibernation at the sight of its own shadow. Six more weeks of winter? Today’s record-breaking 72 degrees belied that prediction. When we discuss this seasonal myth in science class, I ask the kids to think of alternatives that they believe would be more realistic for groundhog behavior in early February. “Don’t come out in the first place. Keep sleeping!” and “Take a sun bath to warm up” are the top choices.

On some of the colder late afternoons, when kids are working in their forts in the pine woods, I personally opt for that second choice. The angle of sunlight beaming through gaps in the trees creates surprising warmth.  “So this is how a solar panel feels,” commented one child who joined me. “Or maybe a vulture?” I suggest.

shadows

vultures-2

Crocus and daffodil leaves are already finding their way up out of the shadows, drawn by the increasing light and warmth. The first few snowdrop flowers dangle from green stems. Pull back the leaf litter, and peony buds show a startling pink. Eranthis hyemalis has begun to spread its invasive yellow carpet, with flowers open for business whenever the first pollinators show up.

The light filling the science building’s greenhouse chases the shadows away earlier and lingers a bit longer every day. We’ll be starting seeds for our garden this week, even as the forecast once again calls for snow. Winter may not be officially over yet, but the light itself issues an imperative: grow!

One thought on “Out of the shadows

  1. When I saw the pictures of budding flowers where you live, I was taken with the contrast (and a little envious).

    Although our days are longer by 5+ minutes every day, it’s still very cold here it was -29 Celsius when I got up this morning. And here’s the chart for tonight and tomorrow (in Fahrenheit in case you want to share with the kids there) no budding flowers here yet, though the ‘pink skies of February’ are pretty spectacular and for those who stay up late, the aurora are breathtaking.

    I’ve been enjoying your posts and seeing what’s going on at your school.

    Cousin Sue – up near Alaska…

    On Tue, Feb 7, 2017 at 4:15 PM Bringing biodiversity home wrote:

    > koiora posted: “Groundhog Day arrived last week, cold but sunny enough, > according to legend, to scare the timid rodent back into hibernation at the > sight of its own shadow. Six more weeks of winter? Today’s record-breaking > 72 degrees belied this prediction. When we discu” >

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s