Saturday, May 17, 2008

Silent Spring

Low: 44° F
High: 68° F
Conditions: Partly cloudy with a chance of showers late.
To paraphrase Garrison Keillor, it’s been a quiet week here in Central Maine. The caninaturalist and I have readjusted our walking routine to accommodate the growing black fly population, pushing our walks earlier into the dawn and later into the evening. That seems to suit both of just fine, as this is the one time of year I don’t mind being nudged with a wet husky nose before 6:00 a.m. Why not? After all, spring has finally arrived.

This makes both me and the caninaturalist deliriously happy.

Ari loves greens: timothy grass, fiddlehead ferns, and just about anything that grows in our garden. When she was a puppy, we thought she might be part goat. Now that she’s grown into her ears, she looks a little less the part. Still, her penchant for grazing continues.

This time of year, she noses around the pansy and fern shoots, looking for her first breakfast. Meanwhile, I spend my time looking upwards, trying my best to take in every molecule of flowering apple and pear trees. It is, without a doubt, the best show of color we'll see until fall foliage season.
Colorful signs of spring seem to be arriving all around our house these days. Nevertheless, I haven’t been able to get over the feeling that something is missing.

I spent all week trying to place it. And then, just this morning I finally realized what it is: other than our recent intruder the red squirrel, we haven’t seen a single wild animal. Sure, a handful of goldfinches and chickadees still visit our feeder, and we’re still hearing the last of the spring peepers. But that’s it. No barred owls and coyotes; no porcupines and skunks; no fox and deer. The woods are just too quiet.

This revelation came on the same day that the WWF released the latest Living Planet Index, which reveals that biodiversity has dropped by about a third since I was born. I’m 33, so you can understand my concern.

Ari is just two, so she hasn’t seen nearly the decrease in her life. But over the past week, she too seems aware that a lot less seems to be going on in our woods. Has biodiversity there dropped in just the last seven days? Probably not. But a new logging operation just off of one of our favorite trails is doing in miniature what the Living Planet Index has investigated at the macro-level: creating a human habitat intrusion the likes of which most environments have never seen.

Don’t get me wrong: we love studying foliage. We just don’t like the idea it might be all we have to study before too long.

That’s a sobering thought for any caninaturalist--especially now, during an otherwise glee-filled time of year. In fact, you might say it's left us speechless.


Kapp pack said...

Dad says those fiddleheads look yummy!

Woo woo, Kelsey Ann

Lorenza said...

Here is very hot so we have to take our walkies when the sun is going to sleep!
I hope you are having a great weekend
Kisses and hugs

Turbo the Sibe said...

My Human said that when she was living in Canada that they would sell frozen fiddlehead ferns in the supermarket.

I have a raccoon I can send you. It annoys Roo Roo!

The Army of Four said...

I sampled one of our Blue Spruce Globes the other day. I thought it was tasty. Mom must have wanted to try it, too - she took it RIGHT out of my mouth! Crazy, isn't it?
Play bows,

Khyra The Siberian Husky said...

I'm a grazer too!

Seriously, isn't it khwite sad about what's being done with 'the place' ;-(


PeeEssWoo: It was SOOO fun to romp with Khanyon and The KP - and the little biped was adorable!

Sandpiper said...

Your walks are always so wonderful! I love how you describe the things you see.

Logging operations can really do a number on the environment. I hope they don't damage too much around you.

Me & my puppies said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Island Rambles Blog said...

Hi Ari and hugs to you and lots of pats from me, and hi to Kathryn...sorry your wildlife is down...I have a lot of squirrels I will send you for ari to chase and loads of English house sparrows too, seriously I also notice much less wildlife, even in just the last two years something has happened ....

JB's Big World said...

Spring is my mom's favorite time of year. We both love animals but my mom sure loves plants and foliage too. I am sure there will be some more sights for Ari soon!

Me & my puppies said...

I just heard the other day that we are now undergoing the largest decline in biodiversity since the Ice Age. Kind of scary?

and still no sightings of the Red Knots :-(

Gus and Louie said...

Well we have skipped through spring and jumped right into the Summer here in Texas. It is 102 today.. Sure glad we have our new air conditioner..

Big Sloppy Kisses
Gus and Louie

The Daily Echo said...

Woo! Maybe the critters overslept! We hope it's just that and not your other theory.

Anonymous said...

I love that sirst picture! Well shot.

What you say is scary. I enjoy reading your thoughts and stories here. Thanks!

Rhea said...

I love the title of your post, and the image of Ari as a goat. lol

But, it is not fun to think of your woods as losing its creatures and what we're doing to nature as a whole. :o(

Tracey and Huffle said...

My mum is going all the way to Canada in October to see the polar bears in the wild before they become extinct!

Ari, I have tagged you in a new game on my blog.

Huffle Mawson, Honorary Husky and Explorer Cat

Maverick the Pirate said...

Harrrrr Ari
dont you love getting the Humans up early in the morning Harrrr.
Cap'n Maverick the Pirate

umekotyan said...

Good evening Ari.
Ferneries are mysterious plants that exist since the age of the dinosaurs.
There is a fernery eats as a Osmunda japonica Thunb and Warabi also in Japan.
And, there are ferneries of the threatened species, too.
Of course, there are excess ferneries, too.

Biodiversity is embarrassed if lost.
There might be the person's classification there, too.
The Japanese is declining birthrate and a growing proportion of elderly people.
And, it is not necessary to forget the influence by Global warming of the marine organism.
It is ume tyan that importantly thinks about nature. :)

from loved ume tyan

Eve said...

Well Kathryn,
I think all the critters have moved to my property cause we're loaded up here!!! Now if it would just warm up here then all would be right with the world!!!

Farmgirl_dk: said...

That top photo of yours is that an anemone? I can't quite tell...
That's very sad about the silence. Positively disheartening about the measured reduction in biodiversity. What shall we do about it? How do we begin to get everyone on board to help? Is it too late? sigh.