During this past week, I spotted some of my favorite indicators of Spring - American Robins! Early in the week I saw just one bird, but then a couple days later I saw a whole flock of them. I'm not sure if they have been around for a while and I just haven't noticed them, or if they really are just beginning to return from their southern migration.
When I was growing up in central Minnesota, my parents would always say that when we saw the first Robin that we should expect one more big winter storm and then Spring would arrive. It seemed as though those little birds were always just a little bit too optimistic, returning to Minnesota just a bit too early.
I wonder if the same trend will hold in Iowa? Will there be just one more winter storm before Spring, now that I've seen Robins? I hope so! This winter has been relatively mild, I must admit. We haven't had to deal with really long stretches of extreme cold...we haven't had to deal with too much snow. But, the transition into Spring is always an exciting time. Plants wake up and start to send their new tender shoots to the surface. The buds on trees open and flowers and leaves emerge. The days get a little longer. The temperatures get a little warmer. There is hope of a new vibrant season.
This weekend we are getting another big winter storm. Last night the rain, hail, and sleet began to fall. Lightning and thunder woke us from our sleep. Now everything is covered in a thick layer of ice. It is still raining, but they are expecting it to turn to sleet, then snow by tonight. In fact, we could get 5 to 8 inches of snow tonight - on top of all of the rain and sleet.
Those poor robins - they are just a bit too early! But, perhaps this will be our last winter storm before Spring!