Most years, its arrival has little to do with the date on the calendar proclaiming it is the first day of this season. Regardless of when it comes, spring is a welcomed and special season. Slowly but surely the warmth of the sun intensifies. Snow and ice covering lakes that may have greeted bluebirds and robins on their return to the North begin to melt as winter releases its grip on the Finger Lakes.
The flow of melting waters starts the annual spawning migration of rainbow trout into the Finger Lakes’ tributaries. Two rites of spring follow. First, the Department of Environmental Conservation conducts the annual electro-shocking survey of rainbow trout amid crowds of would-be-anglers. And then comes opening day, always April Fool’s Day. Thousands of hopeful fishermen equipped with waders, poles, nets and creels try their luck.
The colors of spring magically begin to envelope the Finger Lakes landscape. Early in spring, willow branches swell and turn bright orange. The buds of silver and red maple trees open, painting the lowlands shades of red, and the flowers of Shadbush add a white accent to the land. Then comes the green. The greening of the land shouts that spring has arrived.
Everywhere there are signs and sounds of renewal. The air is refreshing, crisp and filled with frog sound, as male spring peepers and toads call females into the wetlands to breed. Not to be outdone, robins and bluebirds also proclaim the season with a symphony of vibrant song.
By May, there is no question – spring is everywhere. Fruit trees are in blossom, and mares, red fox and white tail deer have given birth.
People are outdoors and their attitudes now are much better than they were in February. Farmers have plowed their fields in anticipation of another good growing year. Hikers, bikers and canoeists are out recreating. There is no time of the year quite like spring. But then comes summer.
by Bill Banaszewski
Bill Banaszewski and his wife Michele live on “The Bluff” overlooking Keuka Lake. Bill spends as much time as possible outdoors with his camera. Bill and Michele own Finger Lakes Images, which specializes in outdoor photography.