Second Spring

Lupines, Warblers, and Baseball

Driving 1,800 miles north in a week was like stepping back in time. Spring came and went in Florida back in early March, by the time we left Florida was well into summer, whatever the calendar might have said. Here in Washburn though spring had barely arrived.

The night we got in the overnight low was 34 degrees. The trees were mainly still bare, save the birches, which leaf out really early. The undergrowth was still spindly and the creek, which normally afforded the kids somewhere to play where no one could see them, was visible to the whole campground.

There was also almost no one in the campground save us, the camp hosts, and a few other seasonal campers. We even beat most of the birds up here. There were a few robins around, some swans, geese, and ducks, but the resident merlins, and most of the spring warblers had not shown up yet, and there were hardly any flowers to be seen.

In two short weeks all that changed. Leaves came out so fast I swear the kids and I watched them grow one day. The creek quickly became hidden again, and every tree and flower popped out at once. This is the same trail above, about three weeks later:

Along with the leaves, every fruiting tree was in bloom.

Lupines always remind me of a book I used to read to the kids all the time, Miss Rumphius, about a woman who grows up listening to her father’s stories of the sea. She ends up traveling the world for most of her life, but eventually returns to Maine and spends the remainder of her life scattering lupine seeds over the countryside. It’s loosely based on the life of a woman named Hilda Edwards Hamlin who really did scatter lupine seeds along the roads of Maine. We’re a good ways from Maine, but the lupines are everywhere here.

With the flowers came the insects and the birds. Once the thickets were leafed out, and impossible to see into, they filled up with singing warblers. The merlins showed up again and build a new nest in the same tall pine they used last year. I’m not sure the pileated woodpeckers ever leave, but they started coming around the campground more, hunting the insects that hide in the pine bark.

Unfortunately the mosquitoes also came out — thicker than we’ve ever seen them around here. I was some small comfort to hear some locals say this is the worst mosquitoes have ever been around here, so far as anyone can remember. It was bad enough that we mostly stayed indoors for a couple days. But after that initial swarm, it calmed down to just spring-in-the-woods levels and we got back out.

With spring also comes baseball. I made sure to show him the 2004 Red Sox ACLS before sending him off so he knows how its done.

Spring is also, apparently, the time to sell your vehicle in these parts. The 1973 Barth motorhome that’s been for sale here as long as we’ve been coming up, is, ahem, still for sale. There may be some price issues there.

If you’ve ever thought, I’d really like to travel the world in a MOOG, but I want a vintage MOOG, I have an even better one for you. This is a 1966 AM General (makers of the Humvee) that’s been converted from 4x4 to 6x6. Because you can never have too many wheels turning when you’re stomping across the globe.


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