Blue Flag

“Is the spring coming?” he said. “What is it like?” . . . “It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine and things pushing up and working under the earth . . .” 

– Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

The melting of winter into spring brings with it a rush of life. Waterfowl, wading birds, and songbirds arriving from the south for another nesting season along thousands of miles of shoreline. Melting ponds and warming waters release turtles and frogs from their winter retreats. Thawing ground and receding snow unleash the insect life that overwintered in cocoons or beneath leaf litter or simply froze in place. In late spring, ducklings follow hens in neat lines, and the first tree swallow nestlings have fledged, filling their crops with airborne insects.  

Water not constrained by wetland shorelines also fuels an explosion of life. Snowmelt and heavy rains bring forth floral swatches of pasque flowers, golden alexanders, and prairie roses, contrasting colors to last year's brown grasses gradually giving way to this season's greens. Western chorus frogs stake out breeding sites in the swollen sloughs, filling the spring night air with a sometimes deafening trills.

Everywhere, spring water, in all its forms, means life.