March 20, 2021

Smoke Signals

Depending on where I have lived, there have been noncalendrical signs I have used to know when Spring had arrived.

On the prairies, where I came in to this world, purple crocuses on the short grass covered hills overlooking the river valley were a sure sign winter was over. 

When winter was reluctant to go, the crocuses pushed up through the snow anyway.

Further north, in the woodsy, bushy parkland region, spring announced its arrival when the ice on the river we lived on broke up after being frozen bank to bank for months.

On the west coast, snowdrops and skunk cabbage were sure signs that I looked for as spring equinox came on.

In the rural area on the east coast, where we presently reside, the thing I look for is smoke signals from my neighbour's maple sugar shack.

The perfect weather for tapping sugar maples, which are abundant in the surrounding forest, is when nights are just below freezing, and days are just above freezing. 

This usually happens around equinox, but the season has been starting earlier than usual in recent years.

Soon after the sugar shack smoke signals, the maple syrup shows up for sale on roadside stands. 

Sweet, sweet spring is here.

I do believe that a mess of pancakes is in order to celebrate the season.

Happy Spring Equinox to our northern hemispheric readers.

And happy Fall Equinox to those in the south.

Pancakes and maple syrup for everyone!


  1. It's a very early spring here and we tapped one tree yesterday for sap to drink. Got 2 liters in a few hours. We have enough syrup from last year to get us through to next spring. Anticipate spring flowers and migrating birds!
    yay, spring.

  2. Happy Spring!! The taste of real maple syrup sounds wonderful right about now.

  3. Anonymous3/21/2021

    Here in the tropical coastal grasslands, roadside carts of local beekeepers selling honey and vanilla beans are a sure sign spring is here to stay. Which reminds me, I need to go walk to there and get the best allergy medicine nature offers!

  4. Happy spring Gregg and Linda! In my part of the world we are seeing different smoke signals. Smoke is starting to rise from some of our neighbours' house chimneys in the early evening, reminding us that cosy nights by the fire are just around the corner.


  5. What I’m noticing in my first spring since moving to south Florida is a daily concert of birdsong. Considering the weather is warm year round and this summer was missing the songbirds I was used to in Memphis I expected the lack of melody to be my new normal. I was so elated when mockingbirds, woodpeckers and sparrows showed up this month! I keep all the windows and doors open to enjoy them as much as I can as I fear they may disappear once the warmth spreads north. And speaking of pancakes...I picked up some Vermont syrup yesterday so the idea of pancakes must be floating through the collective consciousness. :)



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