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Wildersmith on the Gunflint - April 12, 2019

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith    April 12, 2019    

The sprint toward real “Zigwan” (Ojibwe, spring) in the north woods has been putting distance between itself and winter over the past seven days. In spite of another big snow forecast, one brief dash of snow and perhaps our last subzero morning has given way to April showers since last weekend.                                                                                                                            

This in mind, winter character has diminished somewhat around the territory, but muddy roads have intensified. While a few days of Gunflint sunshine have been warming, those with clouds have remained on the cool side of the ledger, hanging out in the mid-thirties, damp and raw.                                                                                                                                                                                  

The Gunflint-Loon Lake wolf pack has been hanging out along the south shore of Gunflint Lake recently, after being quietly obscure for some time. A few nights ago there was a genuine howling not far from Wildersmith. One can’t say whether the concert was in celebration of spring, a calling to feast or some other territorial alert. Then again, maybe they were announcing the birth of pack pups. Regardless, tracks along the Wildersmith shore confirm it was some kind of gathering.                                                                                                                      

Next door neighbors reported a recent sightseeing trip to Trails end turned out to be more exciting than expected. Their vehicle was brought to a surprising stop by a moose strolling along the black top.                                                                                                                                                              

The ensuing stoppage found the moose approach the vehicle for some investigation, actually getting up close and personal for a sniff of this metallic monster. One might wonder if this could have been the same moose reported to have licked road salt residue from a stopped vehicle a few weeks ago.                                                                                                                                              

Much as we humans are now able to shed a layer of winter garment, this viewing revealed the north woods icon was also in the early stages of shedding its winter coat, another sure sign the moose concur, spring is official.                                                                                                           

Adding to our melting delight at the Smith place, our serpentine of slipperiness has finally surrendered its ice. Although there is still ice and snow on the fringes, we can get up and down the driveway both on foot and in the vehicle without cleats and white knuckles.                                         
Another notable of the warming season is detected at the base of trees in the yard. As per usual, those hollow bowls in the snow are expanding by the day as warming bark and running sap exposes the surrounding earth in rustic brown.                                                                                   

One more sign of our border country times was discovered since our last meeting. The first Arachnid was caught scurrying across our kitchen the other day. Whereas everything in creation has an eco-purpose, these creepy crawlers can’t escape giving some the “willies.”                                                                                      

Though there is romance in dreams of warmer days and greening landscape ahead, the season at hand is perhaps the ugliest time of year. Months of crystal pureness has dwindled to unveil a zillion items having amassed on the forest floor over winter, making for some serious unsightliness.                                                                                                                                                                                                    
“Mother Nature’s” glory is rooted in verdant shades of summer, the mosaic of autumn tapestry and of course the marsh mellow cast of winter. In spring however, there’s just no covering up both the natural muss and humankind mistakes.                                                                                         

Then again, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. With the majesty of this great place in the universe budding with an enduring strategy of re-birth, yes, “hope, does spring eternal!”                                          

For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, on the Gunflint Trail, where every day is great, as natural events energize whatever the season.