The bell has rung. The students have paraded to the busroom and the carline. The hall is quiet. Someone else has car duty today. It's Friday and, although he should be working on next week's lesson plans, it is a cloudless warm February day. Your reporter rolls up his sleeves at 3:20, grabs the camera, and walks forth in the after school sunshine to find bits of Spring brazenly climbing out of midwinter.
Sure enough, at the borders of the woods the sumac is budding.
Remember that little clump of jonquils getting ready to burst on February first? They've begun their display now. Below is the very same clump. The precocious ones are standing proud, fairly shouting for their siblings to come out into the sunshine.
Soon the huge tangle of wisteria will sprout a green and purple shroud that will block much of the sunlight from the deserted and mouldering old homesite. Only a bent and rusty coal scuttle here, a broken pipe there, the paintless hood of some thirties vehicle over yonder, a half-buried brick underfoot, a barbed wire embedded in bark, and other such bits and pieces join the jonquils and wisteria in testimony to a long-gone tenant cabin. Or maybe a part of the nearby CCC camp stood here?
Bright green stars are springing out on this moss.
Down by the creek, what I guess to be Tag Alder (Alnus serrulata) puts out hopeful tassels hanging about tiny red leaf buds.
The winter photo possibilities still abound. This backlit red leaf of what I call blaspheme vine stands out like a bright flower in the monochrome of February.
And the strangling cords of Wisteria do their violence to the trees around the old homesite.
The roots of an American beech grab at the eroding bank...
... as the tree's bole leans precariously across the water. Overall the woods are still wintry. Finally, some recent rains have filled the drought-sapped brook with a crystal clear steady flow. Things are looking up.
The fourth grade science teacher hoists his overweight sixty-year-old aching joints up the hill toward the school parking lot. The thirty minute walk was worth every twinge.
The escaping teacher is not the only mid-winter sun worshipper out today. Here an American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) finds a sunny perch atop a young pine at the edge of the playground. He snaps the crow's likeness before tossing the camera into a Toyota and motoring off into the weekend.