Wildersmith March 22

Canada Lynx (myheimu/Flickr)
Canada Lynx (myheimu/Flickr)

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‘Twas the days before spring, and all through the woods, the critters were stirring in shivering wonderment. So goes the story up the Trail as month three has been much less than spring-like so far.
 
Under a growing “crust on the snow moon” (Onaabani Giizis), the topper was this past Sunday when the Wildersmith neighborhood awoke to a shocking minus 29. This followed the five previous mornings where our mercury column registered at least zero or below. It’s been so cold that we are making ice on area lakes, thus adding to the 3-foot cake already set on most bodies including Gunflint.
 
There has not been any significant snow shrinkage out this way, due to the cold. But neither has what we have on the forest floor grown during the past seven. Only a couple dustings has freshened us as storms once again have missed border country. We’ve had mostly sparkling clear days where the brightness and power of old Sol caused me to forget about the frosty January-like sunrises.
 
One has to remember that a year ago at this time the snow was all but a memory. And the lake ice on our Gunflint gal made an all-time record exit on March 25. What a difference 365 days can make!
 
As can happen quickly, our more normal March might be reversed to real spring between the time this scribing is keyed and when it comes out over the waves of cyber-space. Here’s wishing, though, that a few more droppings of the winter element might blanket us before mud season and dreams of green poking through the meltdown actually become a reality.
 
Wild neighborhood critters continue making candid appearances. The lynx that has been frequenting the grounds around Gunflint Lodge was recently observed in pursuit of a snowshoe hare by a lodge guest. I was not told whether the race outcome favored the cat or the rabbit.
 
Over the past couple weeks, white tail traffic has increased considerably about our place. I guess nourishment must be hard to come by under the crusted white. It’s been entertaining to watch a few crows browse about between the hooves of my brush-pruning deer.
 
I don’t know if there is a precise term for describing a bunch of pine martens, but if there is such, it can be applied to the scene on our deck-side cafeteria. A number of them are often cavorting about at almost any given time of day or night. I observed one leap-frogging over another recently in quest of the next open sunflower seed station, quite amusing.
 
Recently a member of the Gunflint/Loon lake wolf pack has been on fast food surveillance duty through the yard.  Evidenced by tracks, scat and territorial marking, it has yet not brought in the troops to execute their predator exploits.  
 
Meanwhile friends from over on Hungry Jack Lake share an ongoing saga of a moose carcass serving nutritional needs of many hungry creatures in their neighborhood. The end of life for this waning icon of the north woods might be blamed on the wolves too but, then again, it could have just been its time.
 
So players in our wilderness drama of search and survival continue keeping the Wildersmith two, and most other Gunflint residents, with our noses to the glass during these waning days of this long white season.
 
In a closing salute, yours truly sends a big thanks to all who stepped to the plate in our “15 reasons” membership drive. If you missed getting your token of support in during the 5 ½- day run, your willingness to be a part of the WTIP family will always be accepted and much appreciated. Just call or click at any time!
 
Keep on hangin’ on, and savor the equinox signal of an ending and beginning!

Airdate: March 22, 2013


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