Wednesday, March 13, 2013 11:40am CDT

28 degrees  Sunny  Wind Calm
Sunrise 7:28am CDT     Sunset  7:16pm CDT
What a difference a year can make!
Last year we were experiencing temperatures in the 70s with even a record breaking 80 degrees on March 17th!
The ice went out of the lake on March 18, 2012.
Crocus were blooming.
This year Minnesota is still locked tightly in the grips of winter even though spring is struggling mightily to make its presence felt.
Snow covers the ground.  Piles of snow along the driveway, where I shoveled them, which were well over 6 feet tall, are now down to 5 feet.  But deep snow covers all of the ground.
The lake is nowhere near thawing nor the ice going out.  In fact, yesterday cars were still driving out on the lake.
But even in the cold, tiny little  rivers of liquid water run in areas hit by direct sunlight.  Testimony to the increasing power of the spring sun.
But for now, the lake is a very inhospitable and unwelcoming place for our loons.  Even though it is beautiful with the bright white snow and the brave fishermen sitting out on the ice hoping for the ever elusive fish.  The ice prevents the loons from enjoying their favorite place for a while yet.
And winter does not seem to be ready to release its grip just yet.  Two approaching storms are forecast for the next week with the possibility of significan accumulations of new snow.
So for now, we watch and wait.
The loons are getting restless on their wintering grounds on the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Coast for the western loons.
They have now probably almost completed their molt into their striking black and white plumage.  A welcome change from the drab gray of winter.
Within the next few days, their restlessness will result in the first loons starting their migration north.  Flying as far north as they find open water.  There to wait until they can fly further north.  Waiting until their lake is free from ice.
And then the wonder of nesting and eggs and little loon chicks begins all over again!  The time we have waited for all year.
I hope your heart beats a little faster in anticipation, as does mine!
Tell your friends and family to get ready for another year of wonder and excitement as we await those adorable little loon chicks.  Now is the time for Twitter and Facebook alerts.  And phone calls and emails.
But in spite of our anxiousness for 'the show to start', we are not the directors of this drama.  We are only the audience.  The spectators.
And so we wait!
Copyright 2013  Larry R. Backlund