The Ink Penn

I started this column on a February Sunday when the high was 40 degrees. The Thursday prior, the temps had reached 80 degrees. You’ve got to love our wacky Atlanta weather. Signs of spring had been abundant for several weeks before I began typing, and I kept thinking, “I’ve got to write a spring column.”

I’ve long felt fortunate to be able to look out my kitchen window and observe a deer or two or six in the meadow beyond our driveway. They stop, they nibble, they listen and sniff, and eventually move up and across the street or down toward the neighbor’s yard and the river beyond. We’re on their daily route.

Lately, I’ve seen herds of deer moving through the meadow, and one morning there was a group of ten, with youngsters mixed in. How did I decide they were young? It was their size and their friskiness. They were playing with each other and kicking up their heels as the more mature deer looked on. I imagined them to be the parents.

Another joyful sight, and not one I often see, was a hawk landing in a yard as I drove down the street. He seemed close enough to have easily swiped the hood of my car as he calmly settled down and observed his surroundings. I do from time to time see a hawk land in a tree outside my kitchen window, and once saw one on the porch railing. These sightings make me wonder whether this is our lone neighborhood hawk or there are several.

In addition to our usual winged visitors, I spied a lone Eastern Towhee one morning. To me, he looked like a smaller Robin, one with a bit more white lower down on its belly.

While I’m not sure that hawk sightings are harbingers of spring, I know that Bluebird sightings are. In late January, one couple began checking out our Bluebird house. They returned for several days and then disappeared. Perhaps their real estate agent is showing them different neighborhoods. Hopefully, this pair or another will come back and move in.

The cuteness quotient increased significantly when my husband and I saw two rabbits hop across the road one evening as we drove to dinner. I think I’ve only seen one rabbit in the twenty years we’ve lived here. More often, my husband tells me they’re nibbling on something we’ve planted, but I don’t ever see them. This evening, we exclaimed over one and drove a short distance to be surprised by another.

The neighborhood wildlife is only one sign of spring. Daffodils springing up, Lenten roses blooming, and my large red camellia bush displaying its finery are all indicators that Spring is here—except of course, that it may only be here temporarily.

I was pretty sure we’d had some of our worst snowstorms in March, but to ensure my memory wasn’t playing tricks on me, I checked the internet. I found that we had a weather event in March 1993 labeled the Blizzard of ’93 and another March storm in 2009 that dumped four inches of snow on the metro area. Who knows? There may yet be sledding and snowball fights in our future.

Kathy is a Sandy Springs resident. Find her books, “Lord Banjo the Royal Pooch” and “The Ink Penn: Celebrating the Magic in the Everyday,” at the Enchanted Forest, Amy’s Hallmark at the Forum and Mansell Crossing, and on Amazon. Contact her at inkpenn119@gmail.com, and follow her on Facebook, www.facebook.com/KathyManosPennAuthor/.

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